AT News Report
KABUL: Since the ninth round of the US-Taliban negotiations began some 10 days back in Qatar, Afghan and international media repeatedly reported of a deal on peace. But the US President Donald Trump’s last words that he would keep 8,600 soldiers even after making deal with the Taliban, raised doubts among Afghans and complicated the talks.
Karim Khorram, who was presidential chief of staff under former president Hamid Karzai, believes that the US president speaks conflicting on the peace process.
“Trump’s latest remarks are in fully contrast with what he had earlier said about the complete pullout of his troops from Afghanistan. Secondly, the US officials are also speaking conflictingly, and this comes as Taliban’s big condition for peace is the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. People don’t yet know about any deal made between the Taliban and United States,” Khorram said Friday.
Trump said last day in an interview with the Fox News that peace deal with Taliban wouldn’t mean the US ends mission in Afghanistan. He emphasized that even after a deal with Taliban, he would keep 8,600 soldiers in the war-hit country.
Presidential hopefuls say that ambiguity in the US-Taliban negotiations has kept Afghanistan in a dark situation.
“The US follows in total a conflicting policy and the people do not know what is Washington seeking in Afghanistan? Well yes, it is a peace issue, but with which strategy and policy? Once the US drawdown is announced and once their remaining. We have a national leadership who can resolve the challenge facing Afghanistan,” said a presidential candidate, Ahmad Wali Massoud.
The US has currently 14,000 soldiers in Afghanistan who are mostly engaged in training and advising Afghan security forces. Taliban hold the US withdrawal as their major precondition for ending war.
The US envoy for Afghan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad calls the withdrawal a part of four issues talked with the Taliban. Ceasefire, intra-Afghan dialogues and a guarantee that international terrorist groups would not threaten US and its allies’ security from Afghanistan are the other parts.
Now with Trump’s fresh words, political analysts believe that the war would be prolonged and negotiations would be complicated.
Taliban have not yet reacted to the recent developments and Trump’s statements.