An international peace conference—that was meant to solidify the U.S.’s plans for removing troops out of Afghanistan—has been postponed, according to multiple reports. The meeting was supposed to begin on Saturday, but was pushed back after Taliban insurgents shrugged off the conference as something that would only advance American interests. “The Istanbul meeting is not happening on the given date because the Taliban refused to attend,” an Afghan official told Reuters. NATO military planners were in talks to remove 13,000 troop members out of Afghanistan by July 1—more than two months earlier than the original scheduled withdrawal on Sept. 11. No matter what, however, all troops will be removed by the latter date.
The peace conference was sponsored by the United Nations, Turkey, and Qatar, and will be rescheduled on “a later date when conditions for making meaningful progress would be more favorable,” according to the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. The Taliban have repeatedly refused to sign up for peace conferences, and officials in Kabul have criticized them for their “lack of cooperation and readiness.”