BRADENTON – The Taliban announced Tuesday that they were prepared to take the first step toward a peace agreement with the Afghanistan government. The two have been at war for 12 years. The United States has suffered over 2,200 casualties in a conflict that has cost U.S. taxpayers nearly a trillion dollars in direct and associated expenses.
Negotiations have been underway for more than two years between an international array of participants, most notably the United States, who would be provided with greater leverage to leave the region should such an agreement ultimately be reached.
This is the first indication of a willingness to negotiate by the group, who most foreign policy experts and military leaders have long acknowledged would need to be involved in any sort of lasting peace negotiations.
*update: According to the New York Times, less than 24 hours later, the Afghan government backed away on from the prospect of even beginning discussions with with the Taliban, while also ending talks on future military cooperation with the United States over the U.S.'s involvement in the group opening an office in Doha, ostensibly to begin talks.
The United States has been embroiled in the conflict since invading in 2001, when they removed the group from power and helped to establish a new government. The New York Times reports that the United States has been secretly pushing for talks between the two.
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