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Delay in peace talks benefit Taliban only: Analyst

AT News

KABUL: Political and military analyst Ali Ahmad Jalali calls for lifting every obstacle put on the road to peace negotiations, saying that this is only the Taliban to get benefit from the talks postponement.

Jalali, who served as interior minister under former president Hamid Karzai, said Saturday that the first phase of the US-Taliban peace agreement had its problems. He criticized the US pullout of the country and said the withdrawal meant America’s poor management of Afghanistan situation.

The United States has decreased its troop number from 12,000 to around 8,000, a move agreed in

the February deal with Taliban. The US troops have also left five bases in different areas.

Jalali believes that the Taliban got benefit from the US drawdown and may postpone the peace talks with President Ghani further and further.

Under the February deal, Taliban are bound to hold talks with Kabul once their 5,000 fighters kept in government’s custody are released. The government has reportedly released 4,400 and President Ghani stopped releasing the rest of imprisoned insurgents, arguing that the militant group should release Afghan forces held in their detention.

Jalali, however, said that the release of 5,000 prisoners was just an excuse by Taliban who have not worked in reduction of violence.

Taliban vowed to release 1,000 government forces they keep in custody. The government says most of those released were not security forces.

The former interior minister said that the names of Pakistani nationals were seen in the Taliban list of prisoners. He added that the militants were under pressure from Islamabad.

“Pakistan sees itself in a strong position. It helped the Afghan peace process to persuade Taliban for negotiations, but the talks would result the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. This is the thing that not only Pakistan, but also Russia, Iran and China want.”

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