Negotiating with the Taliban: Lessons from History

The past 36 years of conflict in Afghanistan provide valuable lessons about the advantages and the perils of negotiating with insurgents. The Taliban’s track record of negotiation is replete with deception. In the past two decades, the Taliban has used negotiation more as a ploy to gain political and military advantages than as a way to settle conflicts. Pursuing negotiation with the Taliban as an exit strategy, as the Soviet experience in the 1980s shows, is both unrealistic and dangerous. Instead, the United States and the next Afghan government should take practical measures to ensure stability in postwithdrawal Afghanistan.

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