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US, Taliban agree in principle over Afghanistan peace talks

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America’s nearly two-decade old active involvement in Afghanistan crisis is believed to come to an end with the recent US and Taliban peace accord, but critics have their doubt about it. The peace negotiations which lasted for nearly a week were held in Qatari capital, Doha.  On Monday, United States’ envoy for the peace talks, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the New York Times that both the parties have agreed “to a draft of the framework that has to be fleshed out before it becomes an agreement.” He added, ”Taliban have committed, to our satisfaction, to do what is necessary that would prevent Afghanistan from ever becoming a platform for international terrorist groups or individuals.”

 

The framework mentions that Taliban, a political and military organisation of Afghanistan which also harbours Al-Qaeda, would not allow a terrorist organization to operate in the country. In return, US would withdraw its troops from the country after the ceasefire.

 

But the underline problem is that Taliban negotiators want a full withdrawal before a ceasefire, whereas US has proposed the opposite. Also, Taliban, which controls almost half of Afghanistan, for years has refused to hold talks with Afghan government as it regards it a mere puppet to US but has also hinted that it might be open to talks only after foreign troops leave the country. Critics called it an ironical stand on the part of Taliban.

 

US has sent its troops in Afghanistan as s part of a NATO-led mission and a US counterterrorism mission to combat Islamic State and Al-Qaeda.

 

Analyst believe that the idea of a ceasefire agreement is to build a dialogue initially between US and Taliban and later between Taliban and Afghan government.

Commenting about the talks which ended on Saturday Khalilzad said that it was “more productive than they have been in the past,” calling it the first significant move in the geopolitical stalemate in years. But added that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

 

Even after the rounds of discussion nothing got decided especially on the issue of the timing of the ceasefire, which is believed to form the basis of discussion in the next round of talks on Feb. 25.

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