U.S. Inches Closer to Deal with Taliban that Could Lead to American Troop Pullout; Afghan President Calls for Direct Talks with Insurgents by Pamela Constable – Washington Post
U.S. and Taliban officials have come close to reaching agreement on a key Taliban demand for U.S. troop withdrawals, prompting Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to call on the insurgents Monday to “begin serious talks” with his government and reach a “speedy peace.”
Ghani’s government has been excluded from the talks until now because the insurgents view it as an American puppet. But Ghani called U.S.-Taliban talks “part of our peace” and warned that a deal without Afghan involvement could lead to the kind of “catastrophic” civil strife that followed the Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989.
During six days of talks in Qatar last week, Taliban and U.S. representatives outlined but did not formally agree on a broad plan in which U.S. troops would leave the country in exchange for the insurgents pledging to ensure that Afghan territory would not be used by them or other Islamist militant groups to harm American interests.