Afghanistan, Two Days And Eighteen Years discussed on BBC Newshour


We are going to start today the with Afghanistan events to bring an end to nearly eighteen years of conflict there are negotiations going on right now in kata for the last two days days of being between the Taliban and Afghan politicians not exactly the government the Taliban refuses to talk directly to them but officials none the less all sat down in the same room and the mood seems to be optimistic both sides are reporting progress there is a huge amount resting on the out come first and foremost people's lives just over three thousand eight hundred civilians were killed in Afghanistan last year many of them children the Taliban control more territory than ever and there's the question of American troops nine thousand at the moment but president trump wants to bring many of them hi one is to to someone with long experience of Afghanistan and the Taliban Michael Semple who Sir professor at the George Mitchell institute for global peace security and justice part of at queen's university Belfast welcome to knees Michael M. how much have the two sides move forward to think they haven't really move forward on this obstante is what they've done is they've they've stopped together on they've they've covered psalms of common ground and the the real test lies ahead isn't that is the time and sincere about wanting these talks to succeed wanting an end to the conflict you think well they certainly gone along with this sort of process of orchestrated talks so fat they are cooperating at but they haven't made any big compromises yet on the real question is will the Taliban be prepares to to compromise on big issues like stopping the fighting calling a cease fire so as to get to that which they desire which is a U. S. I. withdrawal I'm the in the declaration that came out of the these last two days of talks about a commitment from the Taliban not to attack places where there might be lots of civilians hospitals and schools and so on I mean that that sounds like progress well I think that the the declaration was carefully crafted to act cover things which were rather unobjectionable it would be difficult for anybody to argue in favor all of attacking schools or hospitals are public buildings out so of course in terms of the atmospherics it's very good to have this kind of decoration but if yesterday you dos the Taliban do you do this sort of thing they would probably have told you no we wouldn't dream of doing it anyway there was something else that came out of it to the side here of institutionalizing Islam of can you just explain that for us what does that mean exactly yes I think it is also the pattern all of going for a common ground at many in the Taliban say that they are fighting to establish an Islamic system enough on the stand but then when you talk to many of the people in Kabul even in the Afghan government they say well you know we are in favor of an Islamic system and we've already got one so you know Islamic system in general terms is the kind of thing that nobody off on some kind of forced to be against you later on you get into the detail all of okay whose Islamic system we often talk about the Taliban as this one entity how United on day behind this process on one level the Taliban are remarkable for having avoided any major splits and of having maintained a ostensibly unified movement which recognize one single leader and no one set of officials and commanders on one level it is a single for movement however when you open the cover and look inside of course you find that there are many different factions often operating at at cross purposes and with rather different views about the the road ahead on this kind of internal Taliban politics may become all the more important in the in the weeks ahead when we see if the Taliban are prepared to compromise for the sake of achieving a U. S. withdrawal or not yes I want to ask you about that in the moment but all that those within the movement to failed that this may point to negotiating because to all intents and purposes the Taliban has been very successful recently yes and we see this playing out I I I I have talked with people in the the Taliban movement who believe that they've essentially won the war that the cat and the U. S. will be obliged to withdraw its troops whether there is a peace agreement or not and that soon after the that that U. S. troop withdrawal the Taliban will succeed in toppling the Afghan government not we are whether you and I believe that or not is a distance out a different question but there are people inside the Taliban who do for I believe that and they are not in favor of any kind of a political compromise or we king on their weakening of their jihadi stunts does that mean then that the Taliban and to some extent a summer of playing a much longer game than the U. S. is the U.

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