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US may halt Afghan drawdown if violence goes on unabated

AT News

KABUL: The United States has warned it would assess again its troop pullout if Taliban continue attacking Afghan security forces, even if American soldiers were not attacked by militants.

James Anderson, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, has told senators that the Pentagon would continue reduction of troops in Afghanistan to 8,600, but added if the insurgents did not stop attacking Afghan forces, the withdrawal would be rethought.

The Air Force Magazine wrote that the evaluation could stop not only troop withdrawal, but could also cause more military deployment in Afghanistan.

Anderson has said that Taliban had stopped attacks on the US troops and big cities of Afghanistan, but have intensified attacks on Afghan forces.

“We want to reconsider all cases while moving forward. I hope the agreement (the US-Taliban peace deal signed in February) does now collapse as Taliban have so far showed to stand on part of commitments and I hope they are committed in other parts too.”The United States is to decrease the number of its troops from 12,000 to some 8,600 in Afghanistan, according to the deal the US diplomat Zalmay Khhalilzad signed with Taliban leadership after more than a year of negotiations in Qatar.

Taliban assured they would not attack US soldiers, but targeting Afghan forces was not part of the deal.

Taliban have not accepted requests to hold talks with the government of Afghanistan. The group demanded release of its 5,000 fighters from Afghan government detention as a precondition to join the intra-Afghan negotiations.

The government has so far freed 900 of the militants.

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