Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Afghanistan's Fate 'Can't Be Decided Outside,' President Says

Washington has been negotiating with the Taliban over the past year for a pact that would see the Pentagon begin to withdraw its 14,000 troops from Afghanistan Khalilzad hopes this will be the 'Last Eid where Afghanistan is at War'
Steven Clarke | 12 August, 2019, 19:43

An Afghan security personnel stands guard at the site where a Taliban auto bomb detonated at the entrance of a police station in Kabul.

Talks on a deal that would allow the United States to end its longest war and withdraw troops from Afghanistan have ended without agreement.

"It was long and useful, both sides chose to consult with their leaders/seniors for the next steps", Mujahid said in a statement.

According to Zabihullah Mujahid, the eighth round of talks, which had been taking place in Doha, finished after midnight.

Khalilzad had tweeted during the just concluded talks that "we have made excellent progress", raising exceptions a deal was imminent.

"I hope this is the last Eid where #Afghanistan is at war". The two sides are expected to agree on the withdrawal of some 20,000 U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in return for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups. The American and allied troops that remain are conducting strikes on the Taliban and the local Daesh affiliate, and working to train and build the Afghan military.

The Taliban stage near-daily attacks across Afghanistan, mainly targeting Afghan forces and government officials but also killing many civilians.

Hong Kong's airport shut down after thousands protests
The Beijing regime has strongly hinted several times that it could use the Chinese military to suppress the protests. The UK too has faced increasing pressure to take greater action over the protests.

FILE - Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad at the U.S. Institute of Peace, in Washington, Feb. 8, 2019.

Khalilzad tweeted Sunday that he hoped this would be the last Eid al-Adha in which Afghanistan is at war, referring to the Muslim holiday that began over the weekend.

A US-Taliban agreement would not in itself bring Afghanistan's war to an end, as the insurgents would still need to make a deal with the Kabul government.

Ashraf Ghani said the vote on September 28 will go ahead as planned, in his address to the nation on Sunday to mark the Islamic festival of Eid al-Azha, Efe news reported. "Our future fate will not be decided in foreign countries. the future and fate of this country will be decided here in Afghanistan", he added.

"We want peace and we want participation in the peace process". "But we want a peace in which each Afghan has dignity".

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the latest talks, which a United States official said earlier involved technical details and the implementation mechanisms of a pact, ended early on Monday.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have died in Afghanistan since then.

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