Taliban say latest talks end on US's Afghanistan withdrawal

12 Août, 2019, 16:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Washington has been negotiating with the Taliban over the past year for a pact that would see the Pentagon begin to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan

An agreement - if reached - is expected to include Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups in the future.

Some in Afghanistan saw it as a response to President Ashraf Ghani, who on Sunday declared that "Our future can not be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbors".

Yesterday, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad tweeted: "I hope this is the last Eid where Afghanistan is at war", referring to the Eid al-Adha festival now taking place in the Muslim world.

An eighth round of talks on a pact that would allow the United States to end its longest war and withdraw its troops from Afghanistan ended on Monday and both sides would consult their leaders on the next steps, the Taliban said.

"But we want a peace in which each Afghan has dignity".

While the pact is expected to include a Taliban commitment to open power-sharing talks with Afghan rivals, it is not expected to include a Taliban ceasefire with the government, leading to fears the Taliban will fight on when USA forces leave. "The fate of Afghanistan will be decided here in this homeland", Ghani said.

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Ghani and his government have not been involved in the negotiations.

Afghans around the country spent the first day of Eid al-Adha in peace as the Ministry of Interior says twelve security incidents were prevented on Sunday. The Taliban, who effectively control half the country, have dismissed the election as a sham and warned fellow Afghans to avoid both campaign rallies and the polls.

Repeated attacks in Afghanistan over the past several months have killed and wounded hundreds of innocent Afghans, and shown the world the fragile and worsening state of security in the conflict-stricken country.

The Taliban control about half of Afghanistan and are now at their strongest since the US-led invasion toppled their five-year-old government in 2001. More than 2,400 USA service personnel have died in Afghanistan since then. "We call on all stakeholders not to increase the price of peace", said Freshta Tabish, a Balkh resident.

"Peace is the desire of each Afghan and peace will come, there shouldn't be any doubt about it", he said.

Despite President Ghani's offer in February for peace talks "without preconditions", the Taliban have shown no interest, dismissing the peace overtures as a "conspiracy". We don't want a peace in which Afghans wouldn't have dignity. The American and allied troops that remain are conducting strikes on the Taliban and the local Islamic State affiliate, and working to train and build the Afghan military. The Taliban stage near-daily attacks across Afghanistan, mainly targeting Afghan forces and government officials but also killing many civilians. The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission in 2014, but around 20,000 American and allied troops remain in the country.

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