U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan Tied to Afghan Dialogue and a Taliban Cease-fire by Karen DeYoung and Pamela Constable – Washington Post
The Trump administration struggled this week to clarify its intentions in Afghanistan, after the president’s call to withdraw thousands of U.S. troops and reports that it was negotiating a departure schedule with the Taliban, rather than with the Afghan government.
No withdrawal will occur until a comprehensive cease-fire and a political road map for peace have been negotiated between the militants and the Afghans, a senior administration official said.
Instead, the official described a step-by-step process in which nothing of substance will happen until every piece of a complex series of actions is in place. “Our position right now, and [the Taliban] understand it, is that nothing will be implemented” until agreement on all issues has “not only has been completed, but has started to be implemented,” the official said.
“Everything is to be implemented at the same time,” said the official, who agreed there has been “some misunderstanding” about what happened during the latest U.S.-Taliban meeting, and in subsequent U.S. talks this week with the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The U.S. official spoke on the condition of anonymity to address the sensitive diplomatic exchanges…