As Trump seeks an exit from Afghanistan, Moscow steps in

07 February, 2019, 04:31 | Author: Rachel Logan
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President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration had accelerated talks for a political settlement in Afghanistan and would be able to reduce USA troops there as negotiations advanced to end America's longest war.

"The process here in Russian Federation will further strengthen the negotiation of Khalilzad, and it's much more effective and fruitful to have it in this region", said former Balkh province governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who is challenging Ghani in elections planned for July.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the USA has been holding constructive talks with a number of Afghan groups, including the Taliban.

"Today a lot of Afghans sit together, we believe InshaAllah (God willing) after the withdrawal of foreign forces, after the withdrawal of occupation forces, we can sit together and we can resolve all issues together".

Afghan political leader and one of the participants of intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq has said that the participants of the intra-Afghan dialogue in Moscow shared some agreements and disagreements on certain issues during the first day of the summit.

In a post on Twitter, Karzai said he would be bringing to the talks "a message of peace, unity, sovereignty, and progress for all of us".

A cease-fire and the withdrawal of thousands of US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops is on the table after Washington secured earlier assurances from the Taliban that they would not allow groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State to attack the United States and its allies.

"It is conflicted. We want an Islamic constitution", he said, adding that the new charter would be drafted by Islamic scholars.

The insurgents indicated they could loosen some guidelines around women - in line with Sharia law - extending even to female representation in parliament.

"Rest assured that no one can push us aside", he said. The most recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted that the Afghan government controls territory on which 63.5 percent of the population lives.

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The Taliban consider Ghani and his administration to be USA puppets, and have refused offers to talk a truce.

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, head of the Taliban delegation in Moscow, also contradicted Hanafi's earlier comments on an American withdrawal saying no date had yet been fixed.

The Moscow conference will be held amid US President Donald Trump's statements on his plans to significantly cut US military presence in Afghanistan due to "successful" talks between Washington and the Taliban. But he said that if the Moscow meeting creates "an opening for real peace talks, it would still be a step forward".

"Those who have gathered in Moscow have no executive authority".

The Moscow talks follow a series of direct negotiations between Taliban members and USA special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad amid a renewed push by President Donald Trump to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

It comes as broader peace talks aimed at ending the country's 17-year war appear to be gaining momentum, despite the Taliban's continued refusal to meet directly with Afghan government representatives.

Talks between the Taliban and senior Afghan figures - but not members of the government - are taking place in Moscow this week.

Speaking to the Afghan envoys, some of whom are female, the Taliban promised to loosen some restrictions on women and not seek a monopoly on power. The present Afghan military forces and the Taliban need to cooperate in this regard, which will not be easy to accomplish.

Serenko also said Moscow used this week's conference to legitimise its long-held ties with the Taliban which Russian Federation still designates as a terrorist group.



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