In late August it appeared that the United States was very close to an agreement with the Taliban that would see US troops withdraw from the Afghanistan.
Leading the negotiations on the US-side was Zalmay Khalilzad, a widely respected former US Ambassador to the UN who is an immigrant to the US from Afghanistan. He also served as US Ambassador to Afghanistan shortly after the fall of the Taliban.
Significantly, these negotiations did not include the Afghan government, rather they were direct negotiations between the US and the Taliban.
By early September it appeared that the two sides had reached a deal. Then, on September 7th Donald Trump appeared to upend the deal in a tweet suggesting that a planned meeting between the US and Taliban at Camp David had been cancelled, apparently ending these talks. But then, days later, he fired National Security Advisor John Bolton who had largely opposed negotiating with the Taliban in the first place.
So where does this leave the peace process and negotiations for a US withdrawal from Afghanistan? And what happens next? On the line to discuss these questions and more is Daniel Serwer. He is a professor of conflict management and American foreign policy at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Study and a scholar at the Middle East Institute
Daniel Serwer has had a long career in and out of government participating in peace talks and peace building efforts around the world, including Afghanistan.
We kick off discussing just what Zalmay Khalilzad was negotiating with the Taliban before having a longer conversation about how those talks broke down and what comes next.
If you have 20 minutes and want to get up to speed on US diplomacy towards Afghanistan, then have a listen.