Senior leaders talk peace as Afghans battle chaos and uncertainty

Senior Afghan leaders are in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar talking peace with the Taliban, whose leader on Sunday issued a statement saying the insurgent movement wants a political settlement to Afghanistan’s decades of war.

Still, there are few signs of a political agreement on the horizon, as the battles over Afghan districts continue in dozens of provinces and in the cities there are thousands seeking visas to leave.

Most are frightened that the final withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops after nearly 20 years will plunge their war-ravaged nation into deeper chaos.

Militias with a brutal history have been resurrected to fight the Taliban but their loyalties are to their commanders, many of whom are U.S.-allied warlords, whose followings are often ethnic-based.

This has raised the specter of deepening divisions between Afghanistan’s many ethnic groups. Most Taliban are ethnic…

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