Two weeks after President Trump claimed he was done negotiating with the Taliban, representatives from the group turned to China to continue peace talks. This comes as 40 civilians were killed at a wedding by an airstrike from the US and its allies.
Representatives from the Taliban visited Beijing this week to discuss peace efforts in Afghanistan with Chinese officials. They have yet to say exactly how China would play a role in bringing an end to the Afghanistan War, but a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry did say Beijing is pushing for the US return to the table to pursue peace and stability in the region.
“Mullah Baradar, head of the Taliban political office in Doha, and several of his assistants have recently come to China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s officials have exchanged views with Baradar and other members of the delegation on the situation in Afghanistan and the process of advancing peace in Afghanistan. China has consistently and firmly supported the broadly inclusive process of peaceful reconciliation of ‘Afghan-led, Afghan-owned’,” said Geng Shuang.
Earlier this month, the US envoy to Afghanistan confirmed that a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States was finalized “in principle,” and there was hope that it would finally bring an end to the longest war in US history.
But then, two weeks ago, President Trump announced that he was pulling out of negotiations with the Taliban after nearly one year of talks, and he claimed the US was ramping up airstrikes like the country had never seen before.
It appears that the United States and its allies have been following through on Trump’s promise to drastically increase airstrikes, and it has had a devastating impact.
Gruesome footage emerged after at least 40 civilians were killed on Sunday when airstrikes launched by US and NATO forces struck a wedding reception. Instead of addressing the young children who were killed by this attack, US military officials reportedly insisted that “at least a dozen militants were killed in the raid,” including several “senior members of al Qaeda.”
US officials have yet to even acknowledge that civilians were killed in the attack, with some suggesting that if they were, it was likely because of a secondary explosion from Al-Qaeda weapons.
After peace talks collapsed with the US, the Taliban has reportedly ramped up its own attacks as well. A truck bomb they claimed was meant to target government intelligence headquarters, killed 20 people and wounded 95 when it exploded near a hospital last week.
The latest escalations follow a report from the United Nations, which found that more Afghan civilians were killed by US and NATO forces than by the Taliban in the first half of 2019.
Now, it has been nearly 18 years since the US invaded Afghanistan. Yet the latest increase in violence and lack of dialogue has raised concerns that the longest war in US history isn’t coming to an end anytime soon.