US recalls Taliban negotiator, vows to keep troops in Afghanistan – Newspaper

WASHINGTON: The main Taliban negotiator was called to Washington and the United States does not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, the Trump administration announced Monday amid threats by the Taliban to inflict more losses.

However, there was also an indication from the US government. UU. That the process of reconciliation with the Taliban would continue.

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump revealed that senior Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani were going to Camp David's presidential retreat on Sunday for a draft agreement that would see the United States withdraw thousands of troops and end their longest war.

In a tweet that surprised Washington, Trump also announced that he had suspended the secret meeting planned due to the Taliban attack on Thursday in Kabul that killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

The signs indicate that the reconciliation process will continue

In a series of television interviews with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the abrupt cancellation of the talks, he told NBC News "so, for the moment, that is absolutely the case." We remember Khalilzad back to Washington, "when asked if the Taliban talks were completely turned off.

The US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had spent a year negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban. Last week, both the Taliban and Khalilzad indicated that the agreement was almost final and could soon be signed in a legal document.

When Fox News asked him if the talks were "now dead" and what it would take to restart them, Pompeo said "for the moment they are" dead and "if the other team commits an act that is incompatible with that, President Trump is not going to take that deal. It won't take a bad deal. "

However, Pompeo also told CNN that Khalilzad and his team "made real progress" in Doha, but now the Trump administration wanted to see if the Taliban leaders took the commitments they made in these months' talks seriously. “We have to see that they can deliver it. We have to have proof that it is delivered, "he said." And when we get to that point … I am sure that President Trump will continue the process of [reconciliation]. "

The Taliban also indicated that the talks were going well and were about to sign an agreement. They said the US negotiating team was "happy with the progress made so far" in Doha and that the talks were held "in a good environment." Both parties were preparing for "the announcement and signing of the agreement," according to their statement.

In his interview with Fox News, Pompeo said US and Taliban negotiators had been working for months for a peace and reconciliation agreement. “But in the end, the Taliban overreached. They forgot that the United States will always protect their interests, "he said.

President Trump, said Pompeo, focused on two main objectives: the reduction of risk and cost levels for the United States and peace and stability in Afghanistan. "If they [Taliban] they do not fulfill the commitments that they have made to us now for weeks and, in some cases, months, the president of the United States is not going to reduce the pressure, we are not going to reduce our support to the Afghan security Forces that have fought so much there " .

When asked if the United States would keep the 14,000 soldiers still in Afghanistan or reduce them to 8,600 as announced last week, Pompeo said: "We are going to have to take a good look at that … We want to make sure we always have the right number of forces. "

The threats of the Taliban

In response to Trump's decision to cancel the peace talks, the Taliban said it was an "anti-peace" measure. "Now that the president of the United States, Trump, has announced the suspension of the negotiations … this will not harm anyone other than the Americans themselves," the group said in a statement on Sunday.

The Taliban said it would "cause more losses for the United States", "damage [its] credibility "and" show their anti-peace stance in [a] more clearly. "

Asked by CBS about the incongruity of inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David days before the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Pompeo replied: “We know the history of Camp David. It is where peace has been negotiated many, many times. And sadly, you often have to deal with some pretty bad characters to achieve peace. "

Pompeo said that before being invited to Camp David, Taliban leaders agreed to reduce violence, cut ties with al Qaeda and hold talks with the Afghan government.

He assured the American public that American commanders in Afghanistan had all the authority they need to protect US forces and prevent attacks against the homeland. "So, we are still on this hard. We have taken it to the Taliban, more than a thousand Taliban killed in the last 10 days alone." "Our struggle over the past 18 years … will continue until the foreign occupation ends and the Afghans are given an opportunity to live by their own choice. "

Pakistan statement

AFP adds: Islamabad, meanwhile, urged both parties to "commit again to find [a] negotiated peace of the ongoing political solution process. "" Pakistan seeks an optimized commitment after [the] prompt resumption of talks, "the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Posted in Dawn, September 10, 2019



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