The Christian Science Monitor

US-Taliban talks: Is Afghanistan ready for real peace?

With the United States eyeing a withdrawal from America’s longest war, a fledgling peace process in Afghanistan involving direct talks between the US and Taliban insurgents has created the most optimism in years.

But serious concerns abound, not least due to reports the Taliban are preparing for a new fighting season even as they negotiate.

The colossal challenges yet to come in bringing the Islamist Taliban and Afghan government to a peace agreement are encapsulated in a story surrounding a single “hanging” tree in Wardak Province, southwest of Kabul.

It was from that tree that the Taliban, three years ago, hung the body of Rahmatullah, an off-duty army officer and father of seven, after kidnapping, starving, and torturing him for two weeks.

Attached to the tree they left a small note of explanation: “Anybody working with the government, this is the result.”

“It is not only our family that has made sacrifices; every family in Afghanistan has losses like this,” says Rahmatullah’s brother-in-law, Abdul

US sense of urgencyAmong women, concerns‘There should be peace forever’The Taliban’s baggage

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