Afghan Momentum on Peace, Election Slows to a Crawl by Pamela Constable – Washington Post
Just 10 days ago, Afghanistan finally seemed to be moving forward. Peace negotiations with the Taliban were gaining traction and the country’s neighbors were playing a newly positive role. National polls had been set for April, and President Ashraf Ghani appeared strongly positioned for reelection. The U.N. special representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, was so optimistic that he told the U.N. Security Council that the chance of settling the Afghan conflict “has never been more real in the past 17 years than it is now.”
Today, it is a very different story. The forward momentum has all but stopped, the news has all been bad, and the country’s political future seems more uncertain than ever.
Afghan officials, stunned by President Trump’s plan to call back thousands of U.S. troops, have retreated into silence and frantic maneuvering to shore up the government. The election has been thrown into doubt and seems likely to be postponed for months. A brutal unclaimed terrorist assault on two government ministries in the capital left 43 people dead Monday, and the Taliban’s leverage in future power-sharing seems stronger than ever…