With much persuasion from its neighbors in Pakistan, the Taliban has reluctantly agreed to attend peace talks held in the capital of Uzbekistan, Tashkent. Originally, the Taliban had refused to come because the rest of the nations attending (excluding Pakistan) did not recognized them as the nation’s official government. Representatives from Pakistan, Iran, China, Uzebekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russia, and the United States will all be in attendance.
The Taliban currently controls 90% of Afghanistan, while the opposition led by Abdullah controlls the remaining 10% of the nation. Since the Taliban seized control of Kabul in September 1996, it has issued increasingly barbaric edicts which violate human rights, and particularly women’s rights and freedoms.
At the opening of the talks, a U.N. official read a statement in which Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed his concerns about war-torn Afghanistan and the many human rights abuses the Taliban regime has committed.