Can Afghanistan ever find peace with the Taliban?


Blood stains the groundBlood stains the ground at the scene after bomb explosion in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. Afghan officials says the bomb placed in a motorbike wounded nine people. The truce between the U.S. and Taliban started last Friday, setting the stage for the two sides to sign a peace deal next week aimed at ending 18 years of war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

On Saturday, representatives of the United States and Afghanistan’s Taliban leadership met in DOHA, Qatar to sign a peace deal. But, less than 72 hours later, a fatal bombing attack at a football game in Khost province has raised doubts it will last.

Backers of the agreement say it opens the way for direct negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan government; a political future allowing the United States to withdraw its troops; and an end to decades of violence.

Critics say the agreement – which was negotiated without the Afghan government – gives too much to the Taliban, who have repeatedly rejected and attacked the country’s democratic institutions.

Many, including women’s and human rights groups, fear a premature U.S. withdrawal will leave the door open for the Taliban to, once again, force its brand of Islamic rule upon the nation.

But, after 18 long years of war, does this deal allow the best hope for peace moving forward? And will it allow the U.S. to finally exit the war it began in a country known to many as the “graveyard of empires”?

Hello, I’m Sean Callebs. Welcome to The Heat Podcast.

With us to talk about the U.S.-Taliban peace deal is Tabish Forugh. He’s a former official with the Afghan government, a political analyst, and previous Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow of the National Endowment for Democracy.