An exciting concert in a Kabul, Afghanistan hotel turned deadly Wednesday evening when a Taliban gunman opened fire inside the hotel. By the time the Kabul security forces took control of the siege, 14 individuals had lost their lives. This attack was the second carried out by the Taliban in Kabul in the past week. On Sunday, a Taliban suicide bomber attacked a bus carrying Afghan Attorney General’s Office employees. The attack left three dead and 13 injured. These attacks come at the same time a senior US official made claims that the Afghan security forces are unprepared to secure the nation’s defenses and will remain unprepared as the US scales back its military presence in the country. While in March, Afghanistan’s Vice President Ahmad Zia Massoud claimed the nation’s forces are better trained and equipped than ever, those protestations are less than convincing. The questionable ability of the Afghani security forces comes amid discussions of renewed Afghan peace deal with the Taliban.
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has made accomplishing a peace deal with the Taliban his hallmark, as deaths of Afghani security forces have increased dramatically, as the US and NATO ended their combat missions inside the nation.
Short-lived talks between Taliban and Afghani representatives transpired earlier this month in Doha, Qatar. The small nation has acted as the referee in many international conflicts including disputes between Fatah and Hamas. Viewed as a neutral location, Taliban officials selected Qatar years ago to be the location of any peace negotiations with states. All sides’ interests in the talks are distinct. The Taliban seeks to reduce it reliance on Pakistan and increase its reputation. Informal discussions in Qatar earlier this month showed promise for the Taliban, as they were able to push their agenda on a number of points including a political office in Doha, Qatar run by the Taliban and the possibility of revising the Constitution of Afghanistan that could lead to a greater influence of Shariah law on the region. It is unlikely a peace agreement will prove to be effective as the Taliban, given their track record, would be likely to abandon any aspect of the agreement in order to further their agenda with violence when the peace negotiations become insufficient. After years of bloodshed, Afghanistan and the Taliban are unlikely to be on the verge of a peace deal anytime soon.
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