The U.S.-Taliban agreement and the U.S.-Afghanistan joint declaration signed last week identified March 10 as the start of intra-Afghan negotiations. While preparations for intra-Afghan negotiations are underway, the Presidential electoral crisis in Afghanistan has delayed the naming of a national negotiating team. President Ghani has told us he is consulting with Dr. Abdullah and other Afghan leaders and will announce an inclusive team in the coming few days.
Other challenges remain. The current high level of violence by the Taliban is unacceptable. We acknowledge the Taliban have taken steps to stop attacks against the Coalition and in cities. But they are killing too many Afghans in the countryside. This must change. Violence at these levels risks drawing both sides into a vicious cycle, serves no one, and undermines peace.