The release of hundreds of Taliban-linked prisoners and the status of U.S. bases in Afghanistan are among the issues Taliban leaders want to negotiate in U.S.-backed talks to end the war in Afghanistan.
"This meeting with the U.S. authorities would either help pave the way for more meaningful talks or stop them forever," a Taliban commander told NBC News for a Saturday report. "If they are sincere in talks in the future, they would accept our proposal for a prisoners exchange." The Afghan government is unlikely to concede to this request without a commensurate concession from the Taliban.
The number of U.S. bases maintained long-term is also a point of contention; the U.S. wants two, but the Taliban wants zero. The Taliban's main "reason for war, their casus belli, if you will, is the occupation," Ret. Col. Christopher Kolenda, a former Pentagon adviser who has negotiated with the Taliban, explained in an interview with VOA. "So, they're not going to just simply say, 'We're okay with U.S. combat troops running around Afghanistan.' Because that's what they're fighting to prevent, from their point of view." Bonnie Kristian