Hope is real after landmark Taliban talks, but fears remain about what might happen if US troops depart

The start of 2019 has brought for Afghanistan a tantalising hope of peace, fragile but very real, as the Taliban sat down for talks first with Americans in Qatar and this week with senior members of the Afghan elite in Moscow.

These discussions come fraught with fears, that the progress for women and civil rights will be traded away too easily, and that the Taliban may renege on any deal once US troops and their coercive power are gone.

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