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In March, pro-peace sit-ins, marches and demonstrations broke out across Afghanistan.In subsequent months, a series of conferences rallied support for peace among Afghanistan’s neighbours, the donor community and Islamic scholars.The great unknown remains what the Taliban think about these questions and, indeed, whether the insurgency is actually open to making peace.The group has sent mixed signals over the last year.
Amrullah Saleh, the former chief of Afghan intelligence agency and first Vice President of Ashraf Ghani’s electoral ticket said that the Taliban are not independent to launch direct talks with the Afghan government. In June, the warring parties observed a nationwide ceasefire, for the first time in 40 years, over three jubilant days.In July, media reports emerged that the Taliban and US had restarted direct talks in Qatar.It would inaugurate immediate talks with the Afghan government (and probably other Afghan factions) on the composition of a transitional government.
Interlocutors often told the authors that the Taliban do not necessarily object to many of the provisions of the post-2001 Afghan constitution—even, for instance, holding regular elections and protecting most, if not all, of the rights the constitution gave women.One effect of this cascade of events has been a commensurately elevated discussion in Kabul and across Afghanistan about what the content of a political settlement actually should be.