second round of talks to be held in Kabul on January 18th will lay the groundwork for future talks with the Taliban. Pakistan offered up a list of Taliban leaders who they say are willing to take part in peace negotiations. Any progress made will depend on Pakistan - as they support the Afghan Taliban and provide the group with sanctuaries from which to train, rest, refit, and plan operations. It is unknown what real progress has been made but the world is hopeful. One important person not attending the current round of peace talks is Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, the current leader of the Afghan Taliban. (See article on Mansour by The Washington Post, Jan 10, 2016). The Embassy of Afghanistan (in D.C.) issued a joint press release about the outcome of the peace talks held in Islamabad on January 11th, 2016.
Key to Successful Peace Talks. The road to resolving the Afghan conflict through negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government lies with Pakistan's intentions. Is Pakistan sincere in wanting to bring stability and security to Afghanistan or are they more concerned with 'strategic depth' in Afghanistan and countering India's influence in the region. Read "The Key to Successful Afghan Peace Talks", SOFREP, January 14, 2016.
Involve Women in Peace Process. The Human Rights Watch organization wants the four countries engaged in talks to advance peace negotiations between the Taliban and Afghanistan to include women in the peace process. Read more in "Afghanistan: Set Out Concrete Plan to Involve Women", Human Rights Watch, January 12, 2016.
Differences an Obstacle to Talks. Officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan are publicly airing their differences even amidst the latest round of peace talks.(Voice of America, Jan 11, 2016).