In a response to a recent letter from the Taliban to the US, the Trump team has ruled out withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, a pre-condition set by the rebels for talks.
Kabul based TOLO News reported that America’s senior diplomat for South and Central Asia said the US was in Afghanistan at the request of its government and people would be stay there to make sure the country did not become a safe haven for terrorists again.
“The recent Taliban letter to the people of the United States, I believe, misses the point. For eight years, the US has been prepared to support a peace process, but we cannot be a substitute for the Afghan people in the Afghan government negotiations with the Taliban,” Alice Wells was quoted by TOLO as saying.
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Speaking at the US Institute of Peace, a Congress-supported think-tank, she said: “The Taliban were at war with the Afghan people long before US military operations began in 2001. Now obviously the US has a direct interest in the resolution of this conflict and the Taliban have frequently stated the need for all foreign troops to depart Afghanistan is a precondition for negotiations.
“We are in Afghanistan as a guest of a sovereign Afghan government that’s recognized by the UN and international community, with our presence enshrined in the strategic partnership agreement and a bilateral security agreement.”
Earlier, the Government of Afghanistan had called on the Taliban to take part in the ‘peace process’ in order to save the country.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said this while addressing the 2nd Kabul Process Conference which is being attended by representatives from more than 20 countries.
ALSO READ: Join the peace process, save the country, Afghan President tells Taliban
Ghani, while offering peace talks to Taliban also called for government-to-government talks with Pakistan. Ghani had said the Afghan government will provide facilities and security for those Taliban who join the peace process. “We will consider the Taliban’s view in the peace talks,” he said.
A resurgent Taliban has been blamed for much of the increased violence in Afghanistan since United States and Nato forces concluded combat missions in 2014. The attacks have underscored the weaknesses of Afghan security forces.
Ghani, in a tweet had said:
Tomorrow, we will host #Kabul Process conference where representatives from over 25 countries and international organizations will attend.
— Ashraf Ghani (@ashrafghani) February 27, 2018
Earlier, it was reported that the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan might come face to face in the conference. However, there are no reports of an official meeting between the two but if they meet, it would be the first meeting between the two countries after the National Security Advisers met in Bangkok last year in December.