Afghan president renews calls for peace, demands ceasefire

Tuesday, 10 Sep, 2019

Mr Trump had been due to host the Taliban as well as Afghan president Ashraf Ghani at the Camp David presidential retreat before abruptly cancelling.

As Pompeo said in response, "In the end, if you're going to negotiate peace, you often have to deal with some pretty bad actors".

How far had things come?

. Both the US and the Taliban share a common goal, albeit for different reasons: an end to America's longest war - launched in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

There were no immediate reports of any major attacks in the country, but the streets of the capital, Kabul, were largely empty as armed supporters of Massoud, a rare Afghan unifying figure who was killed two days before 9/11, roamed in flag-draped vehicles, firing into the air in a show of power.

The US now has about 14,000 troops in Afghanistan.

He actually said the talks were conducted against the will of the Afghan people.

In his remarks to reporters Monday, Trump said his administration is "looking at" whether to proceed with troop reductions that had been one element of the preliminary deal with the Taliban struck by presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

The Taliban has refused to hold formal talks with the government, which it considers illegitimate, but the Qatar deal was supposed to set the stage for subsequent talks in Norway between the Taliban and other Afghans, including government representatives. Unfortunately, in order to build false leverage, they admitted to an attack in Kabul that killed one of our great great soldiers, and 11 other people. A Romanian soldier serving with the Nato-led mission was also killed.

But the Taliban had never agreed to end their violent campaign against Afghan and foreign forces while the peace talks were taking place. At least 56 people were killed and 379 wounded in election-related violence during last year's polling, the United Nations has said. It wants our exit to look more like Vietnam than Iraq (under President Obama). But time and again, Afghan civilians are suffering. We had a commitment that said that they would reduce violence.

What the Taliban said during the talks with the Doha "is very different from what they are doing here", said Fakhri, who represents some 3,000 families who fled to the Badakhshan city of Baharak after militants took control of their towns.

"I'm not pessimistic", Pompeo told NBC. Some years ago, I met with a group of Afghan women in NY, who had managed to escape their country when the Taliban ruled.

What does each side want?

Jonathan Schroden, a security expert at CNA, a US -based nonprofit research and analysis organization, said it would be "typical Trump brinksmanship to angle for a better deal". An unknown number of Taliban were killed and wounded, he said.

MILLER: No, I think if the USA just simply pulls out of Afghanistan altogether with no peace agreement left in its wake, then I think there's extremely high risk of an intense - an intenser, wider, multi-sided civil war in Afghanistan.

Many in Washington fear that a full United States pull-out would leave the country deeply unstable and vulnerable to militant groups that could use it as a base to attack the West. About 20,000 American and allied troops remain in Afghanistan, and the Taliban control or hold sway over almost half the country.

"There are peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, but the Taliban had wanted to maintain pressure and to remind both the United States and the Afghan government here in Kabul of their strength." . But there's also growing recognition in Washington that any deal with the Taliban - and hopes for stability in a future Afghanistan - could hinge on China's help. The militants enforced strict religious laws and treated women brutally during their rule from 1996 to 2001. "God willing, America will be compelled to accept our point of view, either through dialogue, or they will have to leave our country because of our jihadi operations", he says.