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US presses Taliban to abide peace deal commitments

AT News

KABUL: The United States keeps pressuring Taliban to stay committed in implementing of a February 29 peace deal the two sides signed which allows Washington to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that in his recent phone call with the Taliban negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, he stressed that the militants should abide the peace agreement and not to pave the ground for any attempts against the US security.

Separately, the US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad who is in a regional tour, said Wednesday that he has assured officials of five regional states that the US wants a “secure and stale Afghanistan” since it is important for stability in the Central Asia, South Asia and the United States.

Khalilzad met the foreign ministers of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in Tashkent, discussing investments and regional development.

The government says that it fully ready for a face to face negotiation with the Taliban.

“The Afghan negotiating team is fully ready for negotiations. The talks are expected to be held in Qatar, but we still have matters such as date and other issues to discuss,” said Najia Anwari, spokeswoman for state minister for peace.

The government has so far released around 4,000 Taliban prisoners to help the intra-Afghan talks be held. Taliban says they have freed 700 government prisoners.

Meanwhile, Taliban accuse the US of violating the peace deal “in a low level”.

Zabihullah Mujahid, an insurgents’ spokesman says that the group is ready for talks with Ghani’s administration, but insists on the complete release of imprisoned insurgents.

“The current mechanism for the direct talks is incorrect and needs a mediator from the United Nations and impartial Afghans,” Eqbal Khyber, a political expert said.

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