BFF-41 Taliban slam US for stalling in talks

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AFGHANISTAN-US-TALIBAN-TALKS

Taliban slam US for stalling in talks

KABUL, Feb 4, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – The Taliban lashed out at Washington on
social media Tuesday, accusing the US of holding up negotiations over a
potential withdrawal deal that would see the Americans end their 18-year war
in Afghanistan.

Washington and the Taliban are still wrangling over a possible deal that
would see US troops begin to leave Afghanistan in return for security
guarantees.

However, there appears to have been little progress in reaching a deal in
recent weeks, prompting the insurgents to saddle blame on the White House and
what they say are a growing list of demands by the Americans to pave the way
for a deal.

The Taliban “has the intention & capacity for a resolution,” said spokesman
Zabihullah Mujahid in a tweet.

“Negotiation process has been harmed by Trump’s tweet, numerous US demands
& quarrel b/w US & Kabul officials. @SecPompeo should refrain from blame-
shifting. Our stance in principled & concerted – unlike them,” he added.

The Taliban’s remarks came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said
the insurgents must make “demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to
reduce violence” in order to reach an agreement during a meeting with Central
Asian officials in Uzbekistan.

Taliban sources told AFP last month they had offered to initiate a brief
ceasefire of seven to 10 days to help secure a deal, but there was no
announcement of the details of the proposal by either party.

The tweet also came days after Zalmay Khalilzad — the US special envoy
leading negotiations with the Taliban — launched a new round of shuttle
diplomacy by travelling to both Pakistan and Afghanistan to brief officials
on the status of the talks.

In recent weeks, the US has been largely quiet on the exact status of the
negotiations, while the Taliban have insisted they were prepared to reduce
fighting to move talks forward.

The US and Taliban had been negotiating the deal for a year and were on the
brink of an announcement in September 2019 when President Donald Trump
abruptly declared the process “dead”, citing Taliban violence.

Talks were later restarted in December in Qatar, but paused again
following an attack near the US-run Bagram military base in Afghanistan.

As talks have fluctuated, violent attacks in the country have raged, with
the number of clashes jumping to record levels in the last quarter of 2019,
according to a US government watchdog report released last week.

BSS/AFP/RY/20:28 hrs