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August 16, 2021
Afghan Cease-Fire Deal Struck in Doha Collapsed After Ghani Fled
Journalist Nick Wadhams
The weeks leading up to Kabul’s collapse saw a flurry of diplomatic activity by the U.S. and its allies in Qatar aimed at heading off exactly the chaotic scenes in the Afghan capital that have so horrified the world and put Joe Biden’s presidency on the defensive.
Among those efforts was a tantalizing agreement that could have guaranteed calm. Afghan and Taliban negotiators tentatively reached a deal in which all sides would declare a two-week cease-fire in exchange for President Ashraf Ghani’s resignation and the start of talks on setting up a transitional government, according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.
That opportunity, which hasn’t been previously reported, was lost when Ghani fled the country, according to the people. Ghani’s decision to leave Afghanistan -- he said he did so to avoid a bloodbath -- surprised his negotiating team in Doha, American diplomats and even his chief of staff and other top aides, said the people.
Read the full story and more from Bloomberg.