By Luke Masefield
As of 18 June 2013, United States officials and Taliban representatives have agreed to engage in a new round of formal peace talks, aiming effectively to terminate the Afghanistan War. The negotiations, expected to commence in the week of the 24 June in Doha, Qatar, have been agreed to just one day after NATO had formally handed over the primary control of Afghan security to Afghan forces, a product of the ongoing Bilateral Security Negotiations.
News of Taliban peace talks, optimistically received by the West, has provoked unanticipated ire amongst President Karzai and the Afghan government. According to Government reports, Karzai took primary offence at the US’s agreement to open talks with the Taliban in a Qatari office under the name of ‘The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’- the title of the oppressive Taliban regime of Afghanistan of the 1990s. This reignites recent political tensions between President Karzai and US officials, when the US Government was accused of Taliban collusion in March this year. Mirwais Yasini, deputy speaker of the Afghanistan parliament, stated today that the Taliban’s attempt to style itself as representing the country, as well as the “contradiction between acts and the statements made by the United States of America in regard to the peace process” was “undermining the whole government.”
As well as stating that he will “neither attend nor participate in the talks” until the process is “completely” in the hands of Afghans, President Karzai has effectively suspended the fourth bilateral security agreement negotiations with the US, which had began earlier this year. This development will worry the US government, considering the very recent transferal of Afghan control over security, as negotiations were set to determine the number of US troops remaining in Afghanistan.