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America’s Longest War (Maybe) Ends

Youth dance as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Jalalabad.
Youth dance as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Jalalabad.

Is lasting peace in Afghanistan possible?

Ten years after the United States opened communications with the Taliban, the two sides signed a historic peace agreement on February 29 which sets into motion the potential of a full withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.

A week ago, both parties reached a “reduction in violence” agreement.  They have largelystuck to it as they move towards signing a ceasefire that’s been two years in the making.

While signing the plan represents a good first step, experts say that the real challenge lies in facilitating the conversations between the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan.

From The New York Times:

But the Afghan government is deep in a political crisis after a bitterly disputed presidential election, in which the opposition candidate claimed victory despite President Ashraf Ghani having been declared the winner. With rival claimants to legitimacy, it is unclear who would negotiate with the Taliban, whether they would be prepared to enter talks while struggling to control the government, or what kind of mandate they would have.

Could a peace deal hold amid such ongoing political turmoil within the country? What will the agreement mean for U.S. foreign policy going forward?

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Paige Osburn, Gabrielle Healy