Have Taliban Turned Tables on Ashraf Ghani?

When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani laid out the red carpet in 2017 for controversial Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar — once known as "the Butcher of Kabul" for his role in the bloody conflict for the control of the capital in the 1990s — many thought he was trying to isolate the central Taliban leadership by luring factions to break away and join the government. It didn't work. Today, the Taliban seem to have turned the tables on him — with Russia's help. "The real significance of Moscow, in my view, is that it has somewhat isolated the Afghan government," said Richard Olson, a former special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan for the United States. Olson was referring to a two-day conference in Russia this week that included a 10-member Taliban delegation and almost 50 influential Afghans, including politicians, former jihadi leaders, civil society activists and former President Hamid Karzai — but no representative of the Afghan government...................

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