Since the signing of the landmark U.S.-Taliban agreement on February 29, efforts to reach the next phase in the Afghanistan peace process have faced numerous obstacles, both old and new. Comprehensive Intra-Afghan negotiations, originally planned to begin within 10 days of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, have yet to occur—delayed by disagreements over the presidential election results, prisoner releases, and now the spread of coronavirus in Afghanistan and the region. One hopeful sign, however, was the announcement of a politically and ethnically inclusive negotiation team to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in talks with the Taliban.

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The 21-member delegation will be led by former Minister Masoom Stanekzai and includes five women. Now that a team has been formed, negotiators will need to plan their strategy for the intra-Afghan talks and develop negotiating positions on key substantive issues—including political power-sharing, the role of Islam, and the future of human rights protections and democracy in Afghanistan.  

On April 22, USIP hosted members of the Afghan government’s negotiating team for an online discussion on recent developments, the challenges of getting intra-Afghan negotiations underway, and how the country can move closer to a political settlement for the decades-long conflict. 

Speakers

Masoom Stanekzai
Head of the Afghan Government Negotiation Team; former Chief of the National Directorate of Security 

Habiba Sarabi
Afghan Government Negotiation Team Member; Deputy Chair, Afghanistan High Peace Council 

Alexander Thier 
Senior Advisor, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Founder of Triple Helix Consulting

Ambassador Richard Olson, moderator 
Senior Advisor, U.S. Institute of Peace; former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Andrew Wilder, welcoming remarks
Vice President, Asia Center, U.S Institute of Peace

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