• Can Iran Help Reach a Lasting Peace in Afghanistan?

    Progress has been reported in peace talks between US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban, but without the participation of the Afghan government, it seems premature to assume that an agreement will be reached soon. Could Iran play a constructive role in achieving an end to America’s longest war?

    Despite their lack of diplomatic relations and enduring hostility, Iran and the United States have kept some channels of dialogue open since the 1979 revolution. These channels facilitated an end to the hostage crisis, the selling of US arms to Tehran in the Iran-Contra affair and preceded the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the George W. Bush administration. Communication became formalized under the Obama administration and continued even under the Trump administration until its unilateral withdrawal last year from a 2015 nuclear agreement.

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  • Ahmad in The Hill: The Art of a Political Deal with the Taliban

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  • Ahmad in the Wall Street Journal: How to Negotiate with the Taliban

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  • Slavin in Al-Monitor: Iran's 'marriage of convenience' with Taliban

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  • Taliban Leader’s Death Puts Pakistan on Notice

    Drone strike should send a signal that the United States will not tolerate terrorist safe havens, said Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham

    The US drone strike that killed Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour in Pakistan over the weekend should send a clear signal that the United States will no longer tolerate terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, said the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.

    “I hope that this is the beginning of a message that we will not tolerate any more the strategic challenge that is posed by the leadership of the Taliban being in Pakistan and having a safe haven there,” Cunningham, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center and former US ambassador to Afghanistan, said in an interview.

    “To really get to a peace discussion [in Afghanistan], the Taliban have to come to the conclusion that the option of military force and terror will not get them back to the establishment of the...

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  • Will Mullah Omar’s Death Doom Peace Process?

    Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham says questions already being raised about authority of Afghan militants’ representatives

    Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s death could call into question the Taliban’s leadership and undermine the Afghan government’s efforts to jumpstart a peace process with the militant group, says the Atlantic Council’s James B. Cunningham.

    The Taliban July 30 confirmed news reported by Afghan officials a day earlier that the militant group's leader had died. Afghan officials said Omar had died in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi in April 2013. The Taliban named the reclusive one-eyed Omar's deputy, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, as its new...

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  • Nawaz on Taliban Attack on Karachi Airport

    PBS NewsHour interviews Director of the South Asia Center Shuja Nawaz on the attack on Pakistan airport by Taliban:

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