Despite such problems, a peace agreement preventing Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for international terrorism would allow the United States to withdraw its troops and reduce its security and development assistance, which exceeded $800 billion between 2001 and 2019. An agreement is particularly desirable, as the United States focuses on competition with China and Russia and the United States is addressing the budgetary pressure exerted by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). One way to do this would be to prevent negotiating teams from agreeing on issues such as political power-sharing agreements (including national, provincial or regional), the Afghan constitution, the role of religion, women`s rights, persistent violence, the return of prisoners and upcoming elections. The February 2020 agreement between the United States and the Taliban did not address these issues in a serious way and potentially poses enormous challenges. As part of the power-sharing agreement between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah in May 2020, Abdullah was appointed president of the High Council for National Reconciliation, a group that will have the final say on whether to sign a negotiated agreement with the Taliban. In June 2020, the Taliban and the Government of Afghanistan confirmed that they would meet in Doha for the first round of talks; However, the Afghan government was cautious in organizing the next meeting and stressed that no agreement or consensus had been reached on a direct negotiating ground. In late July, the Afghan government and the Taliban concluded a three-day ceasefire in accordance with Eid al-Adha, and representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban finally held a formal launch ceremony for peace talks in Doha in September 2020. As part of the agreement between the United States and the Taliban, talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban were scheduled to begin on March 10, 2020, after an initial prisoner exchange. However, the Afghan government had not been consulted or approved on the exchange, during which the Afghan government would commit to freeing 5,000 Taliban prisoners and freeing 1,000 prisoners from the Afghan security forces. As a result, the prisoner exchange immediately became a matter of controversy and discussions were delayed. Neither side specified when the more substantial negotiations would begin or provided further details.
U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, the architect of the peace process, however, tweeted that the two sides «codify a tripartite agreement that codifies the rules and procedures governing their negotiations on a political roadmap and a comprehensive ceasefire.» Groups like the Islamic State of Chorasan could oppose the negotiations and try to attract disgruntled Taliban. The insurgency is not a homogeneous organization. These include other insurgent groups, drug trafficking organizations, tribes and militias, some of whom may strongly oppose a peace agreement. Even successful peace agreements have been threatened by spoilers who refuse to participate and feel more engaged in violence to achieve their goals, such as the Real Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland and the National Liberation Army in Colombia.