Taliban insurgents surrender their weapons during a reconciliation ceremony in Herat, Afghanistan, January 28, 2019. With the US pushing forward with power-sharing talks with the Islamic militant group, the Afghan national government in Kabul is steadily losing its grip over the country. Despite warnings from his own intelligence services not to trust the Taliban, US President Donald J. Trump says his negotiating team, led by Afghan-born American diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad, has been given assurances by the extremists that the Taliban – which ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001 following the country’s decade-long war against the Soviet Union and the subsequent civil war that followed – has agreed on the basic framework for a peace deal.