Afghanistan current affairs, news, discussion and update

BATMAN

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This picture gives it all, a predominately Pashtoon country has been reduced to a country occupied by foreigners.
Before US invasion, they never even lived in Afghanistan.
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Eagle1

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Afghan Casualties Surge 31% as Taliban Digs In, U.S. Seeks Exit
By Glen Carey

  • Afghan troops struggle to dislodge Taliban, Pentagon finds
  • Pentagon signals it will provide less information in future
Afghanistan’s government is making no headway in rolling back territory controlled by the Taliban, a Pentagon watchdog found, even as the Trump administration tries to negotiate a peace agreement that would let the U.S. withdraw troops after 18 years of war.

Afghan army casualty rates, an erosion of force levels and increased civilian deaths at the hands of U.S. and Afghan forces are all preventing President Ashraf Ghani’s government from breaking a stalemate with the Taliban. Both sides have incurred “more casualties as they seek greater leverage at the negotiating table,” according to the latest assessment by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Casualties among Afghan National Defense and Security Forces rose 31 percent from December 2018 to February 2019 over the same period a year earlier, while troop levels fell short again of authorized strength for the first quarter of this year.

“If negotiators fail to secure a peace agreement, the ANDSF will be hard pressed to increase its control over Afghanistan’s population, districts, and territory,” the inspector general said. From November 2016 through October 2018, “the Afghan government controlled or influenced between 64 percent and 66 percent of the population.”

The quarterly report highlighted that the U.S. military formally notified the Pentagon watchdog that it is no longer producing its district-level stability assessment of Afghan government and insurgent control and influence over territory. That will limit the ability of the inspector general to gauge the success of U.S. efforts on the ground.

Despite some limitations, the control data was the only unclassified metric “that consistently tracked changes to the security situation on the ground,” the watchdog said. “While the data did not on its own indicate the success or failure of the South Asia strategy, it did contribute to an overall understanding of the situation in the country.”

The inspector general’s assessment comes as President Donald Trump seeks to find a way to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan -- and out of what’s become America’s longest war. That would require a breakthrough brokered by his administration’s special envoy on Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been speaking separately with Taliban and Afghani officials in search of a solution.

“We are working to achieve a reconciliation so that this conflict, now coming on two decades, can be resolved,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Monday in Washington. “We can take down the violence level, we can get a political outcome.” A necessary condition for the U.S. to end its involvement is being able to prevent “an attack on the homeland from Afghanistan,” Pompeo said.

Negotiations between Khalilzad and the Taliban in Qatar have centered on a withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban pledges not to let terrorist groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaeda operate from the country. The Taliban, ousted when U.S. troops arrived in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, have refused to speak with Ghani’s government so far.

Integrating Taliban
Another obstacle for peace will be transitioning about 60,000 Taliban fighters to a sustainable livelihood and peacefully reintegrate them into Afghan society, the inspector general cautioned.

“Successfully reintegrating these tens of thousands of former fighters into society -- a complex and long-term process with social, economic, political, security, and humanitarian dimensions -- will be critical for Afghanistan to achieve lasting peace and stability,” the report said.

If peace is finally reached, it may lead to an erosion in women’s rights, according to the report.

“The prospect of a peace agreement with the Taliban raises new concerns about the sustainability of the gains Afghan women have made over the past 17 years,” the inspector general said. “The Taliban regime from 1996 to 2001 was notorious for its brutality against women. Some experts believe that a precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces could lead to the deterioration of political and economic freedoms, however limited, currently enjoyed by women in Afghanistan.”

— With assistance by Eltaf Najafizada

 

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Saudi Arabia Condemns Terrorist Attack in Northern Afghanistan
06 May, 2019

Afghan special forces arrive at the site of an attack in Pul-e-Khumri, Baghlan province, Afghanistan May 5, 2019. (Reuters)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Saudi Arabia condemned on Monday the terrorist attack that targeted a police headquarters in Afghanistan’s northern city of Pul-e-Khumri, reported the Saudi Press Agency.

A source at the Foreign Ministry offered the Kingdom’s condolences to the relatives of the victims and government and people of Afghanistan.

It stressed that Riyadh stands by Kabul against all forms of violence, terrorism and extremism.

At least 13 people were killed in Sunday’s terrorist attack in Pul-e-Khumri when Taliban insurgents stormed a police headquarters after a suicide bomber blew up his explosive-laden car.

A Taliban militant detonated his Humvee vehicle at the entrance of the police office before a group of eight attackers armed with machine guns rushed in the building, two Afghan officials said.

"Thirteen policemen were killed and 35 others injured," said Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman at the Interior Ministry in Kabul, adding that 20 civilians were also wounded.

Bahrain also condemned the terrorist attack.

The Bahraini Foreign Ministry expressed its condolences to the families of the victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

The Ministry affirmed the solidarity of the Kingdom with Afghanistan, reiterating its firm position that rejects all forms of violence, extremism and terrorism.

 

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Week-Long US-Taliban Talks End Without Breakthrough

May 09, 2019
Ayaz Gul
This photo released by Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Qatari, U.S. and Taliban officials holding talks at an undisclosed location, in Doha, Feb. 25, 2019.

This photo released by Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs shows Qatari, U.S. and Taliban officials holding talks at an undisclosed location, in Doha, Feb. 25, 2019.

ISLAMABAD —
The Taliban and the United States on Thursday concluded weeklong negotiations in Qatar but reported no significant progress on peace efforts in Afghanistan.

The talks focused on two issues: U.S. troop withdrawal from the country in return for Taliban assurances that they will not allow terrorists to use Afghan soil to attack other countries, said a spokesman for the insurgent group.

Suhail Shaheen described what he said was the sixth round of talks as "positive and constructive." He said "some progress" was made on a preliminary agreement the two sides had reached in their last meeting in early March, covering the issues.

"Both sides listened to each other with care and patience," he noted. Shaheen said Taliban and American negotiating teams would consult with their respective leaders and "discuss the remaining points in the next round of talks." He did not elaborate.

Special reconciliation envoy Zalmay Khalilzad led the U.S. team. "We are getting into the nitty-gritty. The devil is always in the details," he tweeted after Thursday's meeting. The talks made steady but slow progress on aspects of the framework for ending the Afghan war, Khalilzad noted.

'More, faster progress'
"However, the current pace of talks isn't sufficient when so much conflict rages and innocent people die. We need more and faster progress. Our proposal for all sides to reduce violence also remains on the table," Khalilzad said.

The Afghan-born chief American negotiator has said a final agreement with the Taliban would be linked to a comprehensive cease-fire and insurgent participation in an intra-Afghan dialogue for permanently ending hostilities.

But the Taliban want Washington to agree to and announce a troop withdrawal plan before they open discussions on other issues related to bringing sustainable peace to Afghanistan.

The insurgent group continues to launch deadly attacks in the country, including Wednesday's car-bomb-and-gun raid against a U.S.-funded nongovernmental organization in the Afghan capital, Kabul. That attack killed nine people and injured more than 20 others.

 

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Afghan officials: 10 wounded in Kabul minibus bombing


AP
May 27, 2019

  • An Afghan official says all the wounded are ministry workers
  • Gunmen killed a religious scholar in Kabul yesterday
KABUL: Afghan officials say 10 people were wounded when a sticky bomb attached to a minibus carrying government workers detonated in the capital of Kabul.

Police spokesman Ferdus Faramarz says one of the wounded is in critical condition.

Arab Haidari, from the religious affairs ministry, says all the wounded are ministry’s employees who were on their way to work when the explosion took place on Monday morning.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but both the Taliban and Daesh militants regularly stage attacks in Kabul.

The bombing comes a day after gunmen shot and killed a prominent religious scholar, Mawlavi Shabir Ahmad Kamawi, in Kabul. Last week, a mosque bombing killed another religious scholar during the Friday prayers sermon, also in Kabul.


 

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Taliban say ‘occupation’ must end for Afghan peace as delegates meet in Moscow
Updated 16 sec ago
Reuters
May 28, 2019
  • ‘The Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end the occupation of Afghanistan’
  • The Taliban refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate
MOSCOW: A Taliban delegation met a group of senior Afghan politicians in Moscow on Tuesday, insisting that international forces must leave Afghanistan for peace to be agreed, amid gathering diplomatic efforts to end the 18-year war.

The delegation, led by chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund, met politicians, including senior regional leaders and candidates challenging President Ashraf Ghani in this year’s presidential election.

“The Islamic Emirate wants peace but the first step is to remove obstacles to peace and end the occupation of Afghanistan,” Baradar said, appearing openly on television in what appeared to be a calculated move to establish his legitimacy as one of the main public faces of the Taliban.

The Taliban, ousted by US-backed forces weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, refer to themselves as the Islamic Emirate.

Mohammad Karim Khalili, head of the High Peace Council, the main body charged with pursuing peace efforts, said dozens of people were being killed in fighting every day and it was time for a “dignified and just mechanism” to end the bloodshed.

Taliban officials have been talking to US diplomats for months about the terms of a withdrawal of more than 23,000 US and NATO coalition troops from Afghanistan and have reached a draft agreement on some issues but no new date for the next round of talks has been set and many obstacles remain.

Chief among these is the Taliban refusal to deal directly with President Ashraf Ghani’s Western-backed government in Kabul, which they dismiss as a “puppet” regime.

Meetings between the Taliban delegation and political figures not formally associated with the government have been seen as a way of preparing the way for full negotiations later. But those contacts are regarded with deep suspicion by many Afghan officials who see them as undermining the legitimacy of the government while reinforcing the position of the Taliban.

The group of politicians attending the ceremony to mark the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Afghanistan and Russia included many of Ghani’s most powerful political adversaries.

Atta Mohammad Noor, the former governor of the northern province of Balkh and a leader of the mainly ethnic Tajik Jamiat-e Islami party, said it was in the interests of all sides to establish a good understanding.

“We want to have good relations with the Taliban and we expect peace from them,” he said.

However, the presidential election in September is expected to put Afghanistan’s political system under heavy strain following bitterly disputed parliamentary elections last year that drew widespread accusations of cheating.

 

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UN agency: Attacks on schools in Afghanistan tripled in 2018

AP
May 28, 2019
  • Attacks on schools increased from 68 in 2017 to 192 in 2018
  • UNICEF said the conflict forced more than 1,000 schools to close down last year
KABUL: Attacks on schools in Afghanistan tripled in 2018, compared to the year before, in part because militants targeted schools that were used as polling stations in the country’s October parliamentary elections, the United Nations children’s agency said Tuesday.

According to UNICEF, the number of attacks on schools went from 68 in 2017 to 192 in 2018 — the first time attacks on schools had increased since 2015. The agency said one of the reasons for the spike was that schools were used as voter registration and polling centers in the elections.

UNICEF also said that Afghanistan’s conflict and deteriorating security situation left more than 1,000 schools closed last year and that half a million children were denied their right to education.

“Education is under fire in Afghanistan,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director. “The senseless attacks on schools; the killing, injury and abduction of teachers; and the threats against education are destroying the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of children.”

An estimated 3.7 million children between 7 and 17 years of age — nearly half of all school-aged children — are out of school in Afghanistan, UNICEF said.

Both the Taliban and the Daesh group have targeted schools and education facilities across Afghanistan in the past. When they ruled the country,
the Taliban — notorious for their repression of women — denied girls the right to education.

Last year’s October parliamentary elections were marred by violence and chaos, with 56 civilians killed, as well as at least 11 Afghan security forces. Also, more than 339 people were wounded in nearly 200 attacks on election day across the country — including many on polling centers. The voting took place against the backdrop of near-daily attacks by the Taliban, who have seized about half the country and have repeatedly refused offers to negotiate with the Kabul government, even as they hold talks with the US

And just two months before the elections, a Daesh suicide bomber killed 35 high school graduates in a Shiite neighborhood of Kabul as they sat for their university entrance exams. The dead were all teenagers.

In Tuesday’s press release, UNICEF added that worsening insecurity, high rates of poverty and persistent discrimination against girls caused the rate of out-of-school children to increase last year for the first time since 2002.

“Girls account for 60% of children not in education,” it added.

Girls’ education is still frowned upon in much of the conservative Muslim country, and is banned in the steadily expanding areas controlled by the Taliban, now estimated to hold sway over half the country.

The UN agency said it was working with the government and other partners to provide informal and accelerated community-based education, including running classes in community buildings and homes to help to reduce the risk of insecurity on the way to school.

UNICEF also called for an end to all attacks on schools and urged all warring parties in Afghanistan to protect education during armed conflict.


 

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Taliban says progress made at Afghan talks in Moscow but no breakthrough
Reuters
May 30, 2019

  • Chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund, met politicians, including senior regional leaders
  • "There had been no breakthrough and that further talks would be needed" said a Taliban official.
MOSCOW: Decent progress had been made at talks with a group of senior Afghan politicians in Moscow but that there had been no breakthrough and that further talks would be needed a Taliban official said on Thursday, Russian news agencies reported.

The delegation, led by chief Taliban negotiator Mullah Baradar Akhund, met politicians, including senior regional leaders and candidates challenging President Ashraf Ghani in this year’s presidential election amid gathering diplomatic efforts to end the 18-year war.

 

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IS claims blast near Afghan military training center: Amaq
30 May 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near a military training center in the Afghan capital earlier on Thursday, the militant group said on its Amaq news agency.

The blast killed at least six people and wounded six more, two security officials said, without elaborating.

Amaq published an image of a man it said was the suicide bomber who carried out the attack. The claim could not be independently verified.
Reporting By Ahmed Tolba; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky


 

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4 dead in Kabul car bomb attack; U.S. troops injured
By Darryl Coote
MAY 31, 2019

People move the wreckage of a car after a bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed at least four people. Photo by Jawad Jalali/EPA-EFE


May 31 (UPI) -- At least four people were killed and several were injured Friday, including U.S. service members, after a car loaded with explosives was detonated in the Afghan capital, authorities said.

Ministry of Interior Affairs spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said four civilians died and three were hurt when the car bomb exploded in Kabul's Qala-e-Wazir area, Tolo News reported.

U.S. Forces Afghanistan also confirmed that at least four U.S. service members were injured in the blast.

The attack is the second in two days after a suicide bomber Thursday detonated an explosives-laden vehicle outside the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in the capital, killing at least six people and injuring 16 others, the Washington Post reported.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The recent attacks come amid an increase in violence between U.S.-backed forces and the Taliban, Voice of America reported.
Meanwhile, the local politicians said Thursday that talks with the Taliban in Moscow, Russia, over a cease fire for the Muslim Eid holiday concluded without an agreement.

"There was no logical and convincing reason for Taliban's refusal to accept cease fire," Ata Mohammad Noor, executive chief of the Jamiat-i-Islami political party, told reporters in Moscow. "Cease fire is the prelude to peace."

It was the second time Moscow hosted such a summit and follows U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad having held six rounds of talks with the focus on troop withdrawal of U.S. troops.

 

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Taliban presses US to set withdrawal date
TAHIR KHAN
June 09, 2019

View attachment 7769
A sixth round of talks to find a political solution will be held in Doha. (Reuters)


  • Taliban spokesman expresses hope for “more progress” in the next round of talks
ISLAMABAD: The US must announce a time frame for the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in order to find a political solution to the conflict, the Afghan Taliban said on Saturday.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Arab News that the two sides had made progress during the sixth round of talks in May, but failed to strike a deal because the US did not set a date for a withdrawal.

Ahead of a new round of talks in Qatar, the date for which has yet to be announced, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, will travel to Doha as “part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that ends the conflict in Afghanistan,” the State Department said in a statement.
“In Doha, he will continue talks with the Taliban to move the peace process forward,” it added.

Shaheen said he is hopeful that “more progress” will be made during the next round of talks, “but the ball is in the US court, as they are to decide a time frame for withdrawal of foreign troops … This will solve the foreign aspect of the problem.”

The date for a complete “withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan will be top of the agenda,” he added. “When the US announces a timeline, we’ll give them a commitment that Afghan soil won’t be used against any country.”

Khalilzad has been urging the Taliban to agree to a cease-fire and start direct talks with the Afghan government, a suggestion rejected by the insurgents.
Shaheen said such talks will be held sometime after the next meeting with US representatives.

The Taliban says it will discuss only two issues with Khalilzad: Withdrawing foreign troops from Afghanistan, and preventing the country from being used against others.


 

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Taliban presses US to set withdrawal date
TAHIR KHAN
June 09, 2019

View attachment 7769
A sixth round of talks to find a political solution will be held in Doha. (Reuters)


  • Taliban spokesman expresses hope for “more progress” in the next round of talks
ISLAMABAD: The US must announce a time frame for the complete withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in order to find a political solution to the conflict, the Afghan Taliban said on Saturday.

Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Arab News that the two sides had made progress during the sixth round of talks in May, but failed to strike a deal because the US did not set a date for a withdrawal.

Ahead of a new round of talks in Qatar, the date for which has yet to be announced, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, will travel to Doha as “part of an overall effort to facilitate a peace process that ends the conflict in Afghanistan,” the State Department said in a statement.
“In Doha, he will continue talks with the Taliban to move the peace process forward,” it added.

Shaheen said he is hopeful that “more progress” will be made during the next round of talks, “but the ball is in the US court, as they are to decide a time frame for withdrawal of foreign troops … This will solve the foreign aspect of the problem.”

The date for a complete “withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan will be top of the agenda,” he added. “When the US announces a timeline, we’ll give them a commitment that Afghan soil won’t be used against any country.”

Khalilzad has been urging the Taliban to agree to a cease-fire and start direct talks with the Afghan government, a suggestion rejected by the insurgents.
Shaheen said such talks will be held sometime after the next meeting with US representatives.

The Taliban says it will discuss only two issues with Khalilzad: Withdrawing foreign troops from Afghanistan, and preventing the country from being used against others.


 

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US, Taliban to open Doha talks in fresh bid to end war
By KATHY GANNON
29 June 2019

View attachment 8639
FILE - In this May 28, 2019, file photo, Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia. Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, told The Associated Press that the Taliban's negotiating team was set to open talks with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. He has been in the region for several weeks meeting a legion of regional and Afghan officials, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A fresh round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban is to begin in Qatar Saturday, just days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is hoping for an Afghan peace agreement before Sept. 1.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, told The Associated Press that the Taliban’s negotiating team was set to open talks with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. He has been in the region for several weeks meeting a legion of regional and Afghan officials, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Khalilzad has been relentless in his pursuit of an intra-Afghan dialogue after an earlier planned meeting between the government and the Taliban in Doha was scuttled when both sides disagreed on participants.

As in previous rounds of talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban, the focus will be on the withdrawal of U.S. troops and Taliban guarantees to prevent Afghanistan from again hosting militants who can stage global attacks. Still, both Khalilzad and Pompeo have said that agreements with the Taliban will come hand in hand with agreements on an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent cease fire.

Until now the Taliban have refused to meet directly with Ghani’s government but have held several rounds of talks with a collection of Afghan personalities from Kabul, including former President Hamid Karzai, several prominent opposition leaders and government peace council members. Both those meetings were held in Moscow earlier this year. The Taliban say they will meet with government officials but as ordinary Afghans and not representatives of the government __ at least not until an agreement with the U.S. is finalized, saying the U.S. is the final arbiter on the Taliban’s biggest issue of troop withdrawal.

The Taliban have also refused a cease-fire. Taliban officials who have spoken to the AP on condition they not be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media, say they won’t agree to a cease-fire until troop withdrawal is in place because returning Taliban to the battlefield with the same momentum of today if the U.S. reneges on its promises could be difficult.

After nearly 18 years and billions of dollars in the protracted war that began in 2001 to unseat the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the Taliban control or contest roughly half of Afghan territory.

The latest round of talks comes amid heightened expectations that followed Pompeo’s optimistic time frame for a pact to end Afghanistan’s nearly 18-year war and America’s longest-running military engagement.

 

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US, Taliban to open Doha talks in fresh bid to end war
By KATHY GANNON
29 June 2019

View attachment 8639
FILE - In this May 28, 2019, file photo, Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia. Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Doha, told The Associated Press that the Taliban's negotiating team was set to open talks with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. He has been in the region for several weeks meeting a legion of regional and Afghan officials, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A fresh round of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban is to begin in Qatar Saturday, just days after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is hoping for an Afghan peace agreement before Sept. 1.

Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha, told The Associated Press that the Taliban’s negotiating team was set to open talks with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. He has been in the region for several weeks meeting a legion of regional and Afghan officials, including Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Khalilzad has been relentless in his pursuit of an intra-Afghan dialogue after an earlier planned meeting between the government and the Taliban in Doha was scuttled when both sides disagreed on participants.

As in previous rounds of talks between Khalilzad and the Taliban, the focus will be on the withdrawal of U.S. troops and Taliban guarantees to prevent Afghanistan from again hosting militants who can stage global attacks. Still, both Khalilzad and Pompeo have said that agreements with the Taliban will come hand in hand with agreements on an intra-Afghan dialogue and a permanent cease fire.

Until now the Taliban have refused to meet directly with Ghani’s government but have held several rounds of talks with a collection of Afghan personalities from Kabul, including former President Hamid Karzai, several prominent opposition leaders and government peace council members. Both those meetings were held in Moscow earlier this year. The Taliban say they will meet with government officials but as ordinary Afghans and not representatives of the government __ at least not until an agreement with the U.S. is finalized, saying the U.S. is the final arbiter on the Taliban’s biggest issue of troop withdrawal.

The Taliban have also refused a cease-fire. Taliban officials who have spoken to the AP on condition they not be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media, say they won’t agree to a cease-fire until troop withdrawal is in place because returning Taliban to the battlefield with the same momentum of today if the U.S. reneges on its promises could be difficult.

After nearly 18 years and billions of dollars in the protracted war that began in 2001 to unseat the Taliban and hunt down al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his followers who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, the Taliban control or contest roughly half of Afghan territory.

The latest round of talks comes amid heightened expectations that followed Pompeo’s optimistic time frame for a pact to end Afghanistan’s nearly 18-year war and America’s longest-running military engagement.

 

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Taliban won't let go. The best option would be to allow the Taliban to be part of the government.
 

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