These channels have multiplied over the last year, and provide substantial insight on the Taliban’s potential positions, priorities and internal debates.
The very next month, however, President Ghani used the second Kabul Process conference to make probably the most forward-leaning public peace offer in his government’s history, including the tabling of a constitutional review process and the full acceptance of the Taliban as a political party.
This offer set off a chain of events that collectively gave the Afghan peace process—nascent though it remains—considerable momentum.
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.
There could be a vast gulf between a view expressed in a private conversation today and an official negotiating position someday in the future.
Some themes, however, emerge consistently across these conversations, tracing back to different parts of the Taliban hierarchy, and suggest the group has an increasingly coherent and consistent view of how a peace agreement should proceed.
Ariana: Pakistan’s army and the Quetta Shura are designing programs for the Taliban insurgent group, a senior member of Ashraf Ghani’s State-Builder team said on Saturday.
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.
Since the fall of their regime in 2001, the Taliban have consistently proclaimed two fundamental objectives: they want foreign troops out of Afghanistan and an Islamist government restored to power. But more recently, the Taliban’s agenda has evolved such that compromise is now conceivable.