Talks are now set to begin in Qatar this week, aiming to put an end to two decades of war and the loss of thousands of lives in Afghanistan. They were meant to begin in March, but instead were held up for months by wrangling over a prisoner exchange plan. The final batch of 400 Taliban prisoners were released last week clearing the path for these talks. The next stage of the process, talks between the Taliban and Afghan government, or "intra-Afghan negotiations", will revolve around an actual "peace deal". Officials, and indeed ordinary Afghans, hope a ceasefire can be agreed although, until now, the Taliban have seemed determined to continue fighting until their demands are met. They see violence as their best form of leverage, and are cautious of allowing their fighters to lay down their weapons, in case it becomes difficult to redeploy them or they drift towards rival militants in the Islamic State group. Negotiators will also try to establish some kind of agreement on a political future for the country. The task seems daunting. How to reconcile the competing visions for the country? On the one hand the "Islamic Emirate" that the Taliban adhere to, on the other, the more modern, more democratic Afghanistan built over the past two decades.