US and Russian officials to hold talks on way forward in war-torn Afghanistan

US and Russian officials to hold talks on way forward in war-torn Afghanistan

A fresh round of talks between Russia and the US on the future of Afghanistan is scheduled to take place

US Russia talks afghanistan

Photo: US Army

A fresh round of talks between Russia and the US on the future of Afghanistan is scheduled to take place today in Ankara.

Both sides met in December to discuss the peace process. During these talks, Russia’s Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov praised recent developments, claiming 2019 would be “decisive” in reaching an agreement. The US announced it is currently in the process of leading peace talks between the Taliban and other regional stakeholders.

While today’s discussions may provide the illusion that Washington and Moscow are committed to working together to put an end to the over 17-year conflict, both sides are engaged in a quiet struggle to emerge as international power brokers.

One way this has been manifested is through ongoing negotiations with the Taliban. To date, the Taliban refuses to talk directly with the government in Kabul, instead communicating directly with the US. Meanwhile, Russia has taken steps to assert itself in these negotiations, making a diplomatic effort to distinguish itself from the US by supporting the idea of a future Afghani government with Taliban representation.

Regardless of who emerges as the “leader” of the peace talks, separate, competing efforts will only delay and obfuscate the peace process.

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