Afghanistan: Talks with Taliban falter

The battle between Afghan security forces and the Taliban still rages in Kunduz, a province of northern Afghanistan – all while Taliban representatives met with Afghan political figures in Qatar to discuss possible ceasefires. The major source of disagreement was the continued presence of US troops in the country. The Afghan government has made no official statement on the meetings, apart from confirming that they were indeed taking place and being held in good faith.

The talks ended with no agreement, apart from the promise to hold another meeting in the UAE next month. NATO officials have largely ignored the proceedings and stated that the Taliban offensive in Kunduz has failed, and will likely be repelled in the coming days, citing the government’s superior technology and air power.

The only stipulation to emerge from the deal of note was the statement that a permanent political office should be established in Qatar to allow negotiations to proceed. The government reversed its earlier position of non-recognition of the Taliban office there, but as President Ghani has made negotiations with the Taliban his priority, he has likely decided it is worthwhile to keep the office open.

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News Briefs:

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  • The media seems largely conflicted on the state of the Russian economy. The rate cut last week has led to a softening in the value of the ruble, and the Central Bank said it would be attempting to ease its policy over the coming months to alleviate the effects of the recession. But many news outlets and analyses are still emphasizing the complete lack of positive signs in the major sources of Russian wealth, within its energy and mining sectors, as well as consumer price inflation and lack of credit. Bloomberg touts the relative strength of the ruble in the past month as a negative, citing its negative effects on export values, but Stratfor claims that a weakening of the ruble will further degrade the economy.

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