The visit of the President of the United States, Donald Trump, to Kabul was not only a surprise to the world but many in the White House as well. The made-for-TV drama Trump was expected to resume talks with the Taliban before the next presidential election. However, even the most informed ones were not expecting the US commander-in-chief’s stunt of landing in Afghanistan to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with cheering troops. But this was not the only surprise. Trump, astonishing many, has unilaterally announced the resumption of talks with the Taliban once again.

However, President Trump’s confident assertion that the Taliban are ready and even eager for a ceasefire demanded by the US in Afghanistan’s 18-year-old war is just wishful thinking. If the Taliban had shown resilience at the height of the occupation, why would they show readiness for a ceasefire with the US now? Trump’s statement that the US has “hit them so hard” to force them to a truce could not be further from the truth. Even if he made these comments for the sake of boosting the morale of his troops, it was a bad attempt.

Now that Trump has announced the resumption of suspended talks, considering a few things will be essential to understand which way the talks will go. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has made it clear that the Taliban would resume the deal from where it was suspended. If Trump’s chief negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, starts the talks from where they were left, then the Trump administration will be under severe criticism from Kabul and the congressmen at home.

Moreover, a realistic understanding of the Taliban’s willingness for a ceasefire reveals that the Taliban know quite well that time is of the essence. Considering that next year is the election’s year in the US, the Taliban will exploit Trump’s desire to end the Afghan war. This is the reason why the Taliban agree to a ceasefire. Any other thoughts in this regard are nothing but wishful thinking.