The president of Afghanistan postponed a planned visit to Washington early next week to discuss talks between the United States and the Taliban about the end of the longest US war, a person familiar with the negotiations said on Friday.
The development arose after the US envoy. UU. Negotiating with the Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, returned abruptly to Qatar to start unexpected talks with the insurgents about the agreement he described as complete a few days ago. The agreement "in principle" to begin a withdrawal of US troops only needed the approval of President Donald Trump, Khalilzad said Monday.
It was not immediately clear why President Ashraf Ghani's visit was postponed. The person who spoke to him The Associated Press He was not authorized to speak with journalists and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Since Khalilzad's announcement, two horrific Taliban bomb attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, one of which killed an American service member and objections to the agreement by the Afghan government and several former US ambassadors in Afghanistan have pressured Khalilzad, as many wonder if treatment will really bring peace.
The Taliban have explained their increase in deadly attacks, even in the capitals of the northern provinces of Kunduz and Baghlan last weekend, as necessary, to give them a stronger negotiating position in talks with the US. UU., A position that has horrified Afghans and others by dying dozens of civilians. .
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, Eliot Engel, has even demanded that Khalilzad testify before the House of Representatives committee about the negotiations, saying that "I do not consider his testimony at this hearing to be optional."
The Afghan president was excluded from negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, and during Khalilzad's visit to Kabul this week, Ghani was shown the agreement, but was not allowed to keep it. The Taliban have rejected negotiations with the Afghan government, seeing him as a puppet of the United States, although he has expressed his willingness to meet with Afghan officials in a personal capacity.
This week, the Ghani government raised objections to the agreement, echoing the concerns of former US ambassadors that a total withdrawal of US troops moves too quickly and without requiring the Taliban to meet certain conditions, such as reducing violence , could lead to a "total civil war." like the one that enveloped the country in the 1990s after a rapid Soviet withdrawal and before the Taliban came to power.
Read: Trump urged not to sink Afghanistan back into civil war
"Afghans have been bitten by this snake before," presidential adviser Waheed Omer said Thursday, recalling previous agreements that the Afghan government has been set aside.
The United States hopes that its agreement with the Taliban will bring the militant group to the table to start talks within Afghanistan before the presidential elections in Afghanistan on September 28, a vote that Ghani insisted should be held on time and not be swept by any kind of interim government.
Few details have emerged from the nine rounds of talks between the United States and the Taliban for almost a year. Khalilzad said the first 5,000 US troops would withdraw from five bases in Afghanistan within 135 days after a final agreement. Between 14,000 and 13,000 troops are currently in the country.
However, the Taliban want all of the approximately 20,000 US and NATO soldiers to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.
The United States, for its part, seeks Taliban guarantees that they will not allow Afghanistan to become a refuge from which extremist groups such as al Qaeda and the local affiliate of the Islamic State militant group can launch global attacks.
Editorial: Taliban mixed signals
"We want to make sure we have our resources deployed in the most appropriate way to provide security for the American people," said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. News Radio KMAN when asked about the deal. “Our soldiers and our airmen have sacrificed a lot in Afghanistan. We have to do this well. But second, to make sure we reduce the risk of terror attacking us again from Afghanistan.
"We believe we can achieve both," he said. "We hope that all elements of Afghanistan, including the Taliban, want to be part of that, and we are working to achieve it."
On Friday, the Taliban attacked a third provincial capital in Afghanistan in less than a week, killing at least two civilians, an official said.
The provincial governor of Farah, Mohammad Shoaib Sabet, said that another 15 people were injured, citing local hospitals, and said that air strikes had been carried out against the militant group. Small clashes continued in the city, he said.
A Farah resident, Shams Noorzai, said the Taliban took an army recruitment center and set it on fire. All the stores had closed, he said, and some people were trying to run away. Later, the governor said security forces had retaken the recruitment center.