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US Congress approves peace talk funds

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The US Congress is allowing the Pentagon to spend up to $15 million this year for logistical support for peace talks in Afghanistan, Rollcall.com reported.

But the Pentagon said it is “likely” that some of the funds will at least indirectly help the Taliban. This is significant because of existing US laws prohibiting aid groups that have been designated as terrorist organizations.

The peace plan allocation, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed yesterday by President Trump, requires provisions for exemption from these laws, which US Congress granted.

The report accompanying the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) says the terrorist group’s expenses—travel costs, for example–will not be directly paid:

“The conferees note that this provision does not authorize direct reimbursements to members or elements of the Taliban,” the report says.

But the NDAA bill’s language does not directly say this–and the expenses can be allocated at the discretion of the defense secretary after consulting with the secretary of state.

A Taliban spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen, in a tweet rejected the report, saying that the budget does not benefit the group.

This could be use only for the Americans, or in other internal issues by US side, the spokesman added.

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