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Pentagon wants Taliban back in peace talks

AT News

KABUL: As escalating hostilities are threatening to throw Afghanistan out of gear, the U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday heaped scorns on the Taliban for intensifying attacks in Afghanistan and questioned their sincerity in ending the conflict through a peaceful political settlement.

“Violence has seriously escalated in Afghanistan and what we would like to see is for the Taliban to return to peace process in a peaceful way,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at a news conference.

He said, “This scale of unprecedented violence calls into question the sincerity of the Taliban’s efforts to participate legally and reliably in the peace process.”

Kirby enumerated Pentagon’s two new missions after withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan to protect US diplomats and support Afghan government forces.

“The Department of Defense will have two missions; one in Kabul to protect our diplomats, and second to establish a new bilateral relationship with Afghanistan to help Afghan forces meet their continuing needs for competence and capability.”

On Tuesday, Gen. Scott Miller, commander-in-chief of US-led forces in Afghanistan, reemphasized sustained US support for Afghan military until drawdown of foreign troops from Afghanistan was complete.

Miller hit out at the Taliban, saying escalation of violence would make it difficult to achieve peace.

Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan said “the Taliban are not winning the war and must end this unprecedented violence.”

This is as Germany has completed withdrawal of all its troops from Afghanistan after 20 years of military mission. Germany had about 1,100 troops in Afghanistan, most of them stationed in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province.

At least 59 German soldiers were killed during their presence in Afghanistan since 2002.

The US-led global coalition’s military mission in Afghanistan is expected to end by September 11.

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