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The U.S. and the Taliban are set to meet in the next few days to talk about peace in Afghanistan. The hope was that it would open the door for talks with Afghan officials. However, the Afghan government said that probably won’t happen, and it doesn’t like the Taliban’s official office, so it won’t be working with the U.S. on a troop agreement.
Great. What Does Everyone Want?
The Taliban wants foreign troops out of Afghanistan; the U.S. would love to go home but wants the Taliban to break up with al-Qaeda, stop the violence, and accept the new Afghan constitution. To show it’s serious, the Taliban opened up a new office (yes, they have offices) in Qatar. The Afghan government doesn’t like the Taliban having official treatment. The challenge is to get the Afghan government and the Taliban to start trusting each other. Big challenge.
Who Exactly Are the Taliban?
Members of an Islamic fundamentalist movement that rose in Afghanistan by the early ’90s. (Fun fact: The CIA actually helped ’em out against our old frenemy the Soviets. Oops.) They were all about restoring peace in the area through really strict Islamic law, but then made some interesting friend choices. They got their 15 minutes of fame when they were connected to Osama bin Laden. The U.S.-led coalition worked hard to drive them from power after 9/11. To say that they don’t love the new Afghan government is an understatement, and they have, for years, been connected to violent insurgencies in the area.
Why's the Timing Important?
The announcement about U.S. and Taliban talks came on the same day that U.S.-led international forces handed over control of Afghan security to local forces—big day after 12 years of war! Most foreign combat troops will be peacing out in 2014. No one wants to see over a decade of war turn into a total civil war after that deadline.
This could be the Taliban’s first real step towards separating itself from terrorism. If the talks happen (big if), it would be the first major sign of peace since the last time the parties tried to talk—that didn’t go well.
Repeat After Me
What to Say When Your Fan is on Too High
The heat was out for a bit but should be coming back now. Summer is here and the NBA Finals are still going on, now heading into Game 7 after a ridiculously close game, where the San Antonio Spurs almost dethroned King James. But the Miami Heat brought it home in overtime, while many of us lost our nail beds. We guess LeBron may get to wear these shoes after all.
What People Are Saddened By
The sudden death of Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed journalist Michael Hastings. Hastings, 33, died in a car crash in Los Angeles. He is best known for his 2010 profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal that led to McChrystal’s resignation after he was quoted as saying some not great things about his friends in the White House. Hastings is remembered as a “fearless journalist.”
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