What will it take to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan? | Talk to Al Jazeera

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The video item below is a piece of English language content from Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is a Qatari state-funded broadcaster based in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network.

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  • On December 24, 1979, Soviet troops invaded Afghanistan.

    Leaders of the Soviet Union said they had been invited by Afghanistan’s communist leader Babrak Karmal. But the invasion set Afghanistan on a path of decades of conflict – from the Soviet-Afghan War to Moscow’s complete withdrawal in the late 1980s, and the eventual collapse of the communist government.

    Civil war followed, eventually leading to the Taliban’s rise to power.

    Once backed by the United States’s CIA, the Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan until 2001, when the US-led coalition invaded after the 9/11 attacks, and the group’s leadership fled Kabul.

    After that, general elections were held in 2004, then 2005, 2009, then 2010, 2014 and 2018.

    Afghan politicians squabbled for power and struggled to control large swathes of their own territory. But the Taliban did not recognise the authority of any of the elected governments.

    Nearly 20 years later, US forces signed an agreement to withdraw from Afghanistan – on condition that the Taliban will not harbour hardline groups or attack the US and its allies.

    The agreement came after nearly seven years of efforts to facilitate political reconciliation between the Taliban, the Afghan government, the US, and other countries after Qatar agreed to open an office for the Taliban where Afghan leaders and western governments could negotiate face-to-face.

    But as attacks continue, efforts to arrange intra-Afghan talks have been delayed yet again.

    So, what will it take to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan?

    We find out as Khairullah Khairkhwa, a member of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, talks to Al Jazeera.

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    Occupying 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi), it is a mountainous country with plains in the north and southwest. Kabul is the capital and largest city. The population is around 32 million, composed mostly of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.

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    The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917 when the Bolsheviks, headed by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government that had earlier replaced the monarchy of the Russian Empire.

    On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the remaining twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union as independent post-Soviet states. The Russian Federation (formerly the Russian SFSR) assumed the Soviet Union’s rights and obligations and is recognized as its continued legal personality.

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