Talking to the Taliban – it’s nothing new

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Aid workers have always dealt with armed groups

For aid workers, talking to armed groups is vital to reaching civilians in need of help. These negotiations are extremely delicate and have often been shrouded in secrecy. However, the dilemmas of  negotiating with armed groups are as old as humanitarian action itself. The interactive timeline below offers a reminder of this forgotten history, tracing key developments in humanitarian dialogue with armed groups from the Spanish Civil War to Syria.

Recent counter-terrorism laws have driven many NGOs to hold talks with armed groups in secret. But these negotiations have always happened.
Browser a timeline of the forgotten history of humanitarian talks and read the working papers