US envoy to go to Kabul, Doha as Taliban requires troops pullout

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Zalmay Khalilzad’s mission comes a yr after the US and Taliban signed an accord aimed toward ending Washington’s longest battle.

The USA has mentioned its envoy to the Afghan peace course of will journey to the capitals of Afghanistan and Qatar to renew talks with Afghan leaders, authorities officers and representatives of the Taliban.

In a statement on Sunday, the US Division of State mentioned Zalmay Khalilzad will meet Afghan leaders and Taliban delegates in Kabul and Doha and maintain “discussions on the way in which forward”.

He will even go to different regional capitals “whose pursuits are finest served by the achievement of a simply and sturdy political settlement”, in addition to a “everlasting and complete ceasefire”, in Afghanistan, it mentioned.

The Division of State didn’t present dates or different particulars.

Its assertion got here a yr after the administration of former President Donald Trump and the Taliban signed a historic accord within the Qatari capital, Doha, wherein Washington agreed to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan in trade for guarantees from the armed group to cease internet hosting al-Qaeda fighters and the launching of peace negotiations with the Afghan authorities.

These talks started in September final yr, however progress has since slowed and violence has risen with uncertainty about whether or not worldwide forces will pull out their forces by Might as initially deliberate.

Some 2,500 US troops stay in Afghanistan, alongside 10,000 NATO personnel.

The Taliban additionally issued a statement marking the anniversary of the Doha accord, saying it has fulfilled its commitments below the settlement, ceasing assaults on the provincial capitals and the focusing on of main navy and intelligence centres.

It additionally reiterated its calls for for the withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan, the elimination of the Taliban’s leaders from a United Nations blacklist, in addition to the discharge of extra of its prisoners.

The brand new administration of US President Joe Biden is now reviewing the February 2020 settlement, however his defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, said final week that the US troop pullout hinges on progress in intra-Afghan peace talks and a discount in Taliban assaults.

The US “won’t undertake a hasty or disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan” that places NATO forces in danger, Austin informed reporters throughout his first information convention as Pentagon chief, including that “no choices about our future drive posture have been made”.

The battle in Afghanistan is Washington’s longest-running battle.

The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, accusing the Taliban authorities of offering sanctuary to the al-Qaeda armed group, which it accused of finishing up the September 11, 2001 assaults in New York and Washington, DC from its base within the South Asian nation.

In a report back to the US Congress in early February, a bipartisan group of specialists mentioned the Taliban was but to display “that it’s ready and even keen” to fulfil its dedication to half methods with al-Qaeda and continues to “settle for help” from the group.

A whole US troop withdrawal and not using a sturdy peace settlement would permit armed teams to regularly rebuild their capabilities “such that they could have the ability to assault the US homeland” inside 18 months to 3 years, the Afghan Examine Group mentioned.

The US “mustn’t … merely hand a victory to the Taliban,” it mentioned, including, “A return to battle within the wreckage of the political course of would depart the USA in a troublesome place: eager to withdraw; yoked to a disunited authorities; and going through, with far fewer assets on the bottom than earlier than, an emboldened insurgency,” it added.