Thursday, 09 April, 2020

Taliban: Work on agreement with U.S. complete

Soldiers stand amidst clouds of dust Taliban: Work on agreement with U.S. complete
Deanna Wagner | 18 August, 2019, 13:04

However, the two sides at the Doha conference agreed a "roadmap" meant to lead to peace and it is the hope of the United States in particular that a formal peace agreement with the Taliban can be reached as soon as September 1. Several defense officials tell CNN that Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford are expected to be present.

Both sides were brought together on July 7-8 in a German/Qatar sponsored peace conference in Doha, Qatar, but the Afghan government representatives were acting only in a personal capacity as the Taliban would not talk directly to the government.

According to the deal, the US military presence will be cut by nearly half, from 15,000 troops to 8,000 or 9,000 troops in exchange for a ceasefire between America and the Taliban and guarantees by the militant group relating to USA counterterrorism interests.

The objective of Mr Khan's visit to Washington was to create a new alliance between Pakistan and the U.S. to further Mr Trump's goal of an orderly USA departure from the scene. In return, the Taliban would commit to various security guarantees, including that the Islamist hardliners who long harboured Al-Qaeda would not allow Afghanistan to become a jihadist safe haven. He said that if the results of the eighth round of US-Taliban talks with the government were to be shared, a new phase would be "direct government-Taliban talks".

Mr Shaheen indicated that negotiations between the Taliban and the United States would begin in Doha as soon as the two sides completed consultations with their respective leaderships.

The Taliban said the elections are a sham. He says the USA does not discuss troops' withdrawal but a comprehensive agreement and withdrawal as part of it.

Most offensive operations have been left to small numbers of the highly-praised - but over-used - Afghan Special Operations soldiers, backed by US special operations units and both countries' air forces, Pentagon officials said.

Iranian officials believe that a new peace process should be devised in which the Afghan government - which has been excluded from the U.S. -Taliban talks in Qatar - played a "dominant" role, the message said.

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U.S. sources also say that the first round of "inter-Afghan" talks would be held in a European country after the "final agreement" between the United States and the Taliban. The ground situation remains what is know as a "checkpoint war", with most regular Afghan forces in fortified bases and outposts, it said. Taliban forces control about 50 percent of the country.

To a question as to how the peace agreement will be signed, Khairkhawa said when both sides finalise all details of the accord about the two issues then witnesses and guarantors, including representatives of the UN, OIC and neighbouring countries, will be invited to witness the signing ceremony.

Last month, Pompeo declared during a visit to Afghanistan that he and Ghani had agreed to "accelerate efforts" to end war in Afghanistan. The source added that the inter-Afghan meeting would decide on the Afghan presidential election.

I'm sometimes asked about the point of praying for peace when there is such relentless evil in the world.

On Sunday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected foreign interference in his country.

Khalilzad, who travelled to India, Brussels and Germany over the past few days, said he will brief the leadership.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is considering sending another top USA official, such as Pompeo or Bolton, to Afghanistan, while Khalilizad is in Doha to sign a declaration of peace.

Tayyib Agha, a member of the militant group's political wing, presented the US diplomats with a road map for a negotiated end to the war.