Who do the US-Taliban talks benefit?

Elias Hubbard
February 21, 2020

Afghan officials say at least five Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban militants stormed a base in northern Afghanistan, despite expectations for a "reduction in violence" before a U.S. -Taliban deal. "Our stance is principled and united, and our policy is not shaky like the opposite side", said Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman on WhatsApp. He's another Taliban spokesman.

But during the almost 20 years since they were booted out of power, the Taliban have been keeping up the fight to regain it.

A senior leader of the insurgent group told a pro-Taliban news agency the two adversaries have mutually made a decision to hold the signing ceremony in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which hosted the 18-month U.S. -Taliban negotiations.

On Sunday, U.S. top envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad also termed his Doha's talks fruitful and said he arrived in Munich to meet the partners.

"We didn't receive any message about a ceasefire from our leadership", a Taliban commander in Afghanistan's Helmand province said. And he says there'll be some form of reduction in violence before the agreement is signed.

Indeed, the entire process is fraught with obstacles to ending an 18-year war that has killed tens of thousands of Afghans and taken the lives of some 3,500 USA and coalition troops.

I n remarks later to a group of reporters, Esper declined to say whether the USA had agreed to cut its troop levels in Afghanistan to zero. USA officials suggest an initial drawdown from 12,000 to 8,600 troops within weeks or months.

Khalilzad also met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and briefed him over the latest updates of peace agreement with Taliban.

KING: And what's been the reaction in Afghanistan?

"We've said all along that the best, if not the only, solution in Afghanistan is a political agreement".

Members of a Taliban delegation leaving after peace talks with Afghan senior politicians in Moscow, Russia May 30, 2019. For instance, Hanafi, that senior Taliban official who released the video today, says that Taliban prisoners should be released before intra-Afghan talks can go ahead. "And what happens in a week's time is also important".

The prime minister underlined that Pakistan had facilitated the Afghan peace and reconciliation process as it genuinely believed that after Afghanistan it stood to benefit the most from peace and stability in that country. "The Taliban will also pledge to disassociate itself from al-Qaeda and like-minded terrorist organizations", Weinbaum said.

There was no immediate confirmation from the United States. The President has agreed with experts on this previously, stating that "it's a risky place and we have to keep an eye on it". I tend to err on that they are more united.

If the Afghan government, the Afghan people and the Taliban reach an agreement, but we suddenly pull out and we stop supporting people, stop giving economic assistance, then the Taliban aren't going to have a lot of reason to continue on with that deal. Diaa, thanks so much.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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