The Trump Administration’s agreement with the Afghan Taliban represents the first-ever substantive peace negotiation effort between the United States and a jihadist movement. The intra-Afghan dialogue component of this process will prove to be extremely difficult because the country is about to undergo another regime change. Assuming the negotiations succeed – which is not a certainty – and given that the Taliban want to alter the current Afghan state into a theocracy while the other side wants to preserve as much of the current democratic setup as possible, the likely compromise will be a Sunni Afghan version of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Washington needs to ensure that the negotiating process does not break down as well as that the Taliban are counterbalanced by its opponents. More importantly, this experiment with the Afghan Taliban could serve as a template for future negotiations with nationalist jihadists in other theaters as a way to counter transnational jihadist forces such as ISIS and al Qaeda.