Summit on Afghan Quagmire Delayed After Taliban Pull Out
The much-anticipated Istanbul summit, scheduled for next week between Taliban officials and representatives of over 20 countries and international bodies, has been postponed due to the Taliban’s refusal to attend, Turkey confirmed on Tuesday. “We thought that it would be beneficial to postpone it,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. “We consulted Qatar, the United States and the United Nations and decided to hold it after Ramadan and Eid festivities [in mid-May].” After initially RSVPing, Taliban representatives quickly reversed course, saying they would not attend as long as there were foreign troops on Afghan soil. The multilateral meeting was intended to solve the long-running bloody dispute between the Kabul-based government and the radical insurgent group, which ruled the country prior to the 2001 US-led invasion and still holds large swaths of territory. US President Joe Biden last week announced the withdrawal of the remaining 2,500 American troops in Afghanistan by September 11, pushing back the initial May 1 deadline agreed to by former President Donald Trump and the Taliban in a deal struck last year. Over the past months, Taliban and Kabul representatives have held fruitless talks in Doha about a possible power-sharing solution, while terror attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan continue.