Afghan Election, Taliban Talks May Be On Collision Course by Pamela Constable and Sayed Salahuddin – Washington Post
An important upcoming milestone for Afghanistan’s Western-backed democracy and a separate, crucial chance to settle the country’s 17-year war appear to be crashing into each other.
The country’s presidential election, planned for April 20, is already roiling the political atmosphere. As President Ashraf Ghani, who is seeking a second term, and an array of potential rivals try to form winning coalitions, observers fear the race could divide the country along dangerous ethnic lines.
At the same time, momentum for talks with the Taliban is steadily building, with a special U.S. peace envoy pushing the process hard and insurgent leaders showing serious interest in negotiating for the first time. But they have insisted that they will not deal directly with the Ghani government, instead reportedly meeting U.S. officials in Qatar and then attending a recent pro-peace conference in Moscow...