Taliban: Half of USA troops to leave Afghanistan by May 1

Americans now want less to do in region says scholar Vali Nasr at Adab Festival

President Donald Trump told Americans on Tuesday his administration had accelerated talks for a political settlement in Afghanistan and would be able to reduce USA troops there as negotiations advance to end America's longest war. He said Afghanistan wants good relations with all countries but will not allow anyone to interfere in Afghan affairs.

Ghani said he had spoken late on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who stressed the importance of "ensuring the centrality of the Afghan government in the peace process". For example, in Moscow, members of the militia said they wanted an "inclusive Islamic system" in Afghanistan with a new constitution, while they also listened to Afghan women's rights activists.

Russian state media mostly downplayed the event's significance, with TASS reporting only that the Kremlin "had no planned meetings with the Taliban". It is in the interests of the Afghan people as a whole that they should be included and heard, and their fundamental rights recognised. Both Abdullah and Atmar are running in the presidential elections scheduled for July against Ghani.

Khalilzad and the Taliban say they made significant progress in the Doha talks and have come close to a deal on withdrawal of USA -led foreign forces from Afghanistan.

"Peace is more hard than war", Mr Stanikzai added, alluding to the difficulties in reaching a settlement.

The Taliban, who brutally ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, has always refused to break bread with Ghani and Kabul, who they view as USA stooges.

"There's something surreal about Afghanistan's most powerful opposition politicians meeting with the Taliban in order to spark an intra-Afghan dialogue that doesn't include the country's own government", analyst Michael Kugelman of the Wilson Center in Washington told AFP.

Several delegates urged the Taliban to start talks with the government and also declare ceasefire in view of the peace talks in Qatar. In Moscow, they were not even invited to the gathering.

This week the Taliban sent a delegation of 10 to talks underway in Moscow with dozens of prominent Afghan opposition figures, including former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Ghani enjoyed strong support from Washington when he took office in 2014.




They argue that Ghani seeks to spoil this rare opening for peace and that his resistance derives from a fear that if talks progress, he could lose his chance for five more years in power.

"Part of the Taliban's approach here is, 'We are not against talking to Afghans... we don't want to talk to the Kabul government because they aren't in a position to negotiate".

Taliban officials have used the extraordinary exposure at the Moscow talks to detail their vision of Afghanistan after a USA troop withdrawal.

The Moscow meeting undermines the progress the USA has made during the talks in Qatar with the insurgent group, and highlights Russia's growing influence in Afghanistan.

Unlike Moscow's landmark peace talks with the Taliban in November, no members of the Russian government - or any other government - were at Tuesday's meeting, although the Afghan organizers live in Moscow and have ties to Russian authorities.

Since being appointed in September last, Khalilzad has met with all sides in an attempt to end America's longest war in which the United States has lost over 2,400 soldiers in more than 17 years. "They are just puppets to the US", Weinbaum added.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, speaks during a press conference in Kabul.

But Pakistan "has avoided taking any concrete or irreversible steps such as arresting or expelling Taliban leaders who do not cooperate with reconciliation efforts", he said.

"The Taliban are dancing to different songs at the same time".

"We both agreed that words, rumors, and speculations can not replace actions and that our partnership and resolve will remain strong in the pursuit of peace", Ghani tweeted.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Facebook Messenger gets WhatsApp's biggest feature: Here's how you can use it
Feb 07, 2019 - 12:54
The dawning realisation doesn't normally kick in until the following day, as you groggily scroll with a heavy head on your pillow. The removed message will then be replaced with a text alerting conversation participants that the message was deleted.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mourinho fined for tax fraud in Spain in lieu of jail time
Feb 06, 2019 - 11:26
He said he left the country in 2013 with the "information and the conviction" that he was up to date with his tax obligations. The former Manchester United manager was accused of owing Spanish tax authorities almost €3.3 million (£2.9million).

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Russian Federation to build mid-range nuclear missiles after INF treaty withdrawal
Feb 06, 2019 - 09:28
The INF agreement forbids ground-launched, short- and intermediate-range missiles, but not those launched from the air or sea. Russian Defense Ministry officials show off Russia's 9M729 cruise missile at Patriot Park outside Moscow on January 23.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top New Zealand vs India on February 6
Feb 06, 2019 - 08:43
During the 37th over of the innings bowled by Kedar Jadhav, Neesham went for the sweep but ended up missing the ball completely. The manner in which the Kiwi batsmen face Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal would effectively decide the fate of the series.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top US Senate breaks from Trump with Syria troop vote
Feb 06, 2019 - 07:10
He was testifying Tuesday before the committee on the situation throughout his area of responsibility. Trump's Syria withdrawal has also fueled rare, vocal opposition from within his own Republican party.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top More Rain This Week, Icy Wednesday
Feb 06, 2019 - 03:57
Forecasters said Flagstaff temperatures would drop to 28 degrees on Wednesday with a low of nine degrees into Wednesday night. Areas of drizzle and freezing drizzle are expected to develop across south-central and eastern Kansas tonight.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top At Mavericks Introduction, Porzingis Holds Back On Knicks Divorce
Feb 05, 2019 - 10:42
There was uncertainty about Porzingis' desire to play with the Pelicans long term, sources said. The 21-year-old was away from the team for two weeks as his name surfaced in trade rumors.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Australia's Townsville flooding declared catastrophe by insurance council
Feb 05, 2019 - 10:20
She said the dam floodgates had to be released "to make sure the water had somewhere to go". Reports suggest 2000 properties have been affected by flooding, with vehicles also damaged.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top N'Golo Kante Reveals Maurizio Sarri Warning Which Inspired Huddersfield Thrashing
Feb 05, 2019 - 10:16
Although we may well hand the title to Liverpool if we win at the Etihad, we have ambitions of our own that we need to focus on. What's more, they have scored fewer goals (45) this season than the rest of the current top six sides.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Titanfall Dev's Free Battle Royale Apex Legends Out Now on PS4
Feb 05, 2019 - 09:26
They made a decision to use the same engine they used for Titanfall and Titanfall 2 , but found that the game looked rather dated. In terms of gameplay, each session will have 60 players that can form teams of three, making a total of 20 teams in each game.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top EU Urges Iran to Refrain From Ballistic Missile Development Activities
Feb 05, 2019 - 08:03
Iran says its missile tests are not in violation of the resolution and denies its missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman wants ‘record numbers’ at championship parade
Feb 05, 2019 - 07:11
The lowest-scoring Super Bowl in history has been compared - and not favourably - to the Black Caps. The Patriots defeated the Rams 13-3, earning quarterback Tom Brady a sixth championship.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Hubble fortuitously discovers a new galaxy in the cosmic neighborhood
Feb 04, 2019 - 17:15
Not only is it one of just a few dwarf spheroidals that have a well established distance but it is also extremely isolated. Our newly discovered cosmic neighbour, nicknamed Bedin 1 by the astronomers, is a modestly sized, elongated galaxy.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Search for missing Cardiff City's Emiliano Sala resumes in English Channel
Feb 04, 2019 - 17:14
After meeting his former Nantes teammates, Sala was expected to take a light aircraft from Nantes to Cardiff on Monday evening. Guernsey police have said the current plan is for the search to resume at sunrise tomorrow.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top European Union states move to recognise Venezuela's Guaido - diplomats
Feb 04, 2019 - 17:12
The gathering was one of several expected around the world to coincide with a rally planned by Guaido in Venezuela. The European Parliament has called on the EU's member states to recognize Guaido as the interim president .