Talking to the Taliban is better than an endless war

Talking to the Taliban is better than an endless war

Talking to the Taliban is better than an endless war

"The Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for worldwide terrorist groups or individuals", Khalilzad told the Times. A withdrawal would need to be managed carefully to prevent the collapse of Afghan security forces - and any negotiations between the Taliban and the Kabul government could take months, if not years.

A senior Taliban official who attended the talks told the BBC over the weekend that both sides had agreed to form two committees to draw up detailed plans on how to implement agreements in principle on the two key issues: when US-led troops could be withdrawn from Afghanistan, and whether the Taliban would deny jihadist groups from using the country as a base. Ghani has warned that any discussions of a future interim government or other power-sharing agreement must only be discussed in direct talks between Afghan and Taliban representatives.

On Monday, Ghani assured Afghans that no deals would be made without Kabul's awareness and participation in negotiations.

"Our commitment is to provide peace and to prevent any possible disaster", Ghani said. "But there are values which are non-negotiable, for example national unity, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, a powerful and competent central government and basic rights of the citizens of the country".

"US withdrawal will leave the Afghan forces at the mercy of the Taliban and like in Iraq where Saddam Hussein's troops joined ISIS, the Afghan troops could melt into the Taliban as the latter would be the more powerful section", said Mr Dogra cautioning against falling for Taliban's demands too easily.

Underlining the parlous backdrop to the talks, the Taliban on Monday claimed to have killed or wounded 33 United States and Afghan forces in two recent incidents, according to the SITE monitoring group.

The US and Taliban representatives have held several rounds of negotiations in recent months, part of a diplomatic push to get the insurgents to agree to peace talks. The U.S. -led Afghan war was launched shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The militants are negotiating from a position of strength: they have the upper hand on the battlefield, and US President Donald Trump's reported eagerness to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is weighing heavy on the discussions.

Afghan analyst Shadi Khan Saif says rural Afghans, many of whom have been living under Taliban rule for years, "simply want peace".

The Taliban have long refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, branding them "puppets".

Top U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defense officials are encouraged by the recently concluded U.S. talks with the Taliban that could lead to a peace settlement in Afghanistan and the possible withdrawal of American troops. "At the same time, none of the Afghans wants the foreign forces to stay in their country for the long term", he noted. The US has the largest contingent, with 14,000.

Afghans want to see an end to the ongoing crisis, he said, adding no Afghan likes to witness suicide bomb attacks in mosques, parks or other places that claim the lives of people.

Nevertheless, that these talks are making progress and that the US government appears willing to accept a complete withdrawal from the country-as opposed to leaving a small ground force behind-is encouraging, says Glaser.

Khalilzad told the Times he was attempting to persuade the Taliban to negotiate the future relationship directly with Kabul and denied an interim government had been discussed by USA representatives.

Afghan security forces are already taking staggering losses, with 45,000 killed since late 2014, and morale is low.

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