(THE CONVERSATION) Peace talks have resumed between the United States and the Taliban of Afghanistan, three months after negotiations ended abruptly following a deadly Taliban attackin Kabul.
The Taliban – an armed insurgency promoting an ultra-conservative form of Sunni Islam – has battled the Afghan government for power for three decades. Since the U.S. invasion of 2001 following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, it has also fought the United States.
A new Washington Post report on the 18-year conflict in Afghanistan finds that 2,300 American soldiers and more than 43,000 Afghan citizens were killed in what U.S. officials knew was an “unwinnable war.”
A peace deal with the Taliban would set the terms for a staged withdrawal of the remaining 14,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. In exchange, the Taliban must agree to enter talks with Afghan government officials and cut ties with terrorist groups like al-Qaida .
But peace in Afghanistan will take more than an accord. History shows that economic growth and better job opportunities are necessary to rebuild stability after war. Based on my research and teaching on armed conflict, the environment and peacebuilding in Afghanistan, I believe careful and sustainable use of the country’s abundant natural resources could be one path towards recovery.