Afghan Opposition, Taliban Agree to Back US-Led Peace Process

Afghan Opposition, Taliban Agree to Back US-Led Peace Process

Afghan Opposition, Taliban Agree to Back US-Led Peace Process

A framework agreement that talks of a phased withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for a Taliban commitment that it would sever its ties to global terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda seems to have put enough on the table to satisfy both sides at least for the time being, thereby allowing the process to move forward more than such attempts have allowed in the past.

The statement came after a Taliban official confirmed on Wednesday that no timetable had been agreed with the U.S. government for the partial withdrawal of United States forces from Afghanistan and that negotiations were still underway.

Karzai said at the end of the Moscow meeting that those talks had been "very satisfactory".

Former Balkh governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who was also part of the Afghan delegation, suggested the formation of an interim government that includes the Taliban as the way out of the logjam.

In his piece about "Who will be responsible for Afghanistan mess?", Kakar hits the gate running by comparing the US' possible withdrawal from Afghanistan to its prior one from Vietnam, remarking that "Donald Trump appears desperate to fulfil his campaign promise, ignoring sound advice".

"At the first step, we want all the foreign forces to leave and end the military presence in our country", said Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for a Taliban office in Qatar and a member of a Taliban team now meeting Afghan opposition politicians in Moscow. Hope for peace coexists with the fear that the United States will leave as carelessly as it boosted intervention in 2017, when civilian deaths surged due to increased air strikes.

Abdullah Abdullah, the country's chief executive, said Monday that the Afghan government should be at the center of any peace talks, adding that Kabul "would prefer the Moscow meeting had a different shape".

The Kremlin hosted another Taliban meeting in November past year which brought to the negotiating table representatives of the insurgent group as well as members of the Afghan peace council - a body created by the Afghan government to facilitate peace talks.

Both sides said they had agreed in principle to a framework on two fundamental issues - that the Taliban would not allow terror groups to use Afghan soil for attacks, and that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

If the Taliban have any complaints, however, it is President Trump's talk during the State of the Union address of leaving behind forces for "counter-terrorism" operations.

Despite disagreements over women's rights and demands for an Islamic constitution in Afghanistan, the Taliban has said that the Moscow peace talks were "very successful", reported the AFP.

President Ghani's supporters feel Moscow talks will provide legitimacy to the insurgent group and undermine the national unity government (NUG).

"A group of Taliban rebels stormed the checkpoints of Local Police in Baghlan-e-Markazi district early this morning triggering a gun battle, which left 10 local police personnel killed", the official told Xinhua but declined to be named, saying authorized officials would talk to the media. "It's our right to go to school and to work, and everyone should respect that". "Dissemination of western and non-Afghan and non-Islamic drama serials, paving way for immoral crimes, and encouraging women for violating Afghan customs are other instances that have been imposed on Afghan society under the name of women rights". "But if that does not happen, they still want to have the Russian option open which has now brought them closer to Ghani's biggest opponents".

The gathering has been criticized by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Karzai praised the dialogue with the Taliban and said the government "needs to be part of these negotiations". The most recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted that the Afghan government controls territory on which 63.5 percent of the population lives.

Ghani tweeted that Pompeo "stressed that our military partnership is unwavering and will remain until a lasting and inclusive peace is achieved".

Neither the Afghan nor American government were present.

"We both agreed that words, rumors, and speculations can not replace actions and that our partnership and resolve will remain strong in the pursuit of peace", Ghani tweeted.

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