Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The United States envoy negotiating with the Taliban for an end to nearly 18 years of fighting in Afghanistan was departing Tuesday for Qatar to resume talks, the State Department said, amid concerns about a growing threat by an Islamic State affiliate.

Zalmay Khalilzad also will visit with the Afghan government, which has been sidelined from the talks, to discuss the “peace process and encourage full preparation for intra-Afghan negotiations,” the U.S. said.

In Washington, President Donald Trump told reporters he believes the Taliban insurgents are eager to stop fighting and that they could “very easily” prevent Afghanistan from being a breeding ground for terrorism. The U.S. will, nonetheless, keep a close eye on Taliban influence, he said, even as it thins its troop presence.

Story continues below advertisement

“That’s what we have to watch. And we’ll always have intelligence, and we’ll always have somebody there,” Trump said.

The new talks in Qatar, where the insurgent group has a political office, come after a horrific suicide bombing at a wedding in Kabul over the weekend. The blast, claimed by the IS affiliate that has emerged as a brutal threat in recent years, led outraged Afghans to question whether a U.S.-Taliban deal would mean peace for long-suffering civilians.

Afghanistan was the world’s deadliest conflict in 2018, and the United Nations has said more civilians died last year than in the past decade. Afghan officials have said Saturday’s bombing killed more than 63. Over 32,000 civilians have been killed in the past 10 years.

A quarterly report from the Lead Inspector General, meanwhile, reported Tuesday that the conflict remains largely a stalemate, with the Taliban unable to expand their territorial holdings and the Afghan government forces unable to reclaim lost land.

“The available measures of security indicated little change in the violence during the quarter,” the U.S. report said, referring to the April-June period.

Some 14,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, and their withdrawal is a central part of the U.S.-Taliban talks. Some analysts have warned, however, that Trump’s eagerness to bring at least some troops home ahead of next year’s election could weaken the U.S. stance in the negotiations as the Taliban might see little need to make significant concessions.

The U.S., for its part, seeks Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan, which hosted al-Qaida and its leader Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks, will not be used as a launch pad for global terror assaults.

Story continues below advertisement

Both Khalilzad and the Taliban earlier this month signalled they appeared close to an agreement, and Trump was briefed on the talks with his national security team on Friday.

Intra-Afghan talks on the country’s political future are expected to follow an agreement, though the Taliban has refused so far to negotiate with the Afghan government, dismissing it as a U.S. puppet. The insurgent group now controls roughly half of Afghanistan and is at its strongest since its 2001 defeat by a U.S.-led invasion.

Khalilzad has expressed interest in a deal by Sept. 1, less than a month before Afghanistan’s presidential election. The uncertainty around the talks has led many Afghans, including some candidates, to question whether the vote will occur.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, stung at being left out of the talks, has insisted the election is needed to give the government a strong mandate to deal with the Taliban.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered in mosques in Kabul for memorials for scores of people killed in the weekend bombing. Even in mourning, fears of a follow-up attack were high as armed community self-defence forces stood on guard.

Some mourners criticized the Afghan government.

Story continues below advertisement

“They should apologize to the people for not bringing security” to the country, said Zia Mohammad, a relative of one victim. He called on Ghani to resign.

The Associated Press has learned of additional deaths in the attack that were not included in the toll announced by Afghan officials, but officials on Tuesday would not comment.

“One of the wounded victims just died whom we hoped would survive and we are getting ready for his funeral,” relative Hassan Mohammadi said. “Now we just hope that the rest of the wounded victims will get well soon.”

Nearly 200 people were wounded in the blast, Afghan officials have said.

Afghanistan’s minority Shiite Hazara community, targeted in the bombing, feels especially vulnerable. The IS affiliate which emerged in Afghanistan in 2014 has launched several large-scale attacks on minority Shiites, who it views as apostates deserving of death.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies