Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 21st, 2019

Reducing Violence in Afghanistan is Key to Talks, Dunford Says

Reducing Violence  in Afghanistan is Key to  Talks, Dunford Says

WASHINGOT N- U.S. negotiations with the Taliban would be considered successful if they led to less violence by the insurgent group, and promoted peaceful dialogue among Afghans, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Thursday night.
Even with President Donald Trump eager to scale back U.S. forces in the country after 18 years of combat, those conditions aren’t yet being met.
“If you ask me what I would view as a successful negotiation right now, it would be a negotiation that does two things. It reduces the level of violence associated with the insurgency and it sets up the Afghans to have intra-Afghan dialogue,” Marine General Joseph Dunford said at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington.
Reducing the violence would allow Afghan and allied U.S. forces to be more “focused on the terrorist threat than on the insurgency,” Dunford added.
Trump promised during the 2016 campaign to bring home American troops from overseas conflicts, and conclude what he called endless wars. The U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The Americans has been negotiating directly with Taliban forces in an effort to deliver on the troop withdrawal pledge. Afghan authorities have been largely sidelined in the process, even as the Taliban have escalated attacks. The Taliban have so far refused to hold talks with the Kabul government, although the U.S. says the group must do so before any accord is final.
The U.S. is proposing to tie troop withdrawals to a pledge by the Taliban to prohibit terrorist groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda from using Afghanistan to stage assaults.
The fear that a rapid U.S. withdrawal may lead to chaos in Afghanistan has loomed over proposals to scale back. Even now, the Taliban control or contest about half the country’s territory, more than at any time since it was ousted in the American-led intervention.
Dunford, who is set to retire in October, said at a Pentagon briefing on Aug. 28 that Afghan government forces are still incapable of securing the country without American military support.
“Right now, it’s our judgment that the Afghans need support to deal with the level of violence that is associated with the insurgency today,” Dunford said then. “If an agreement happens in the future, if the security environment changes, then obviously our posture may adjust.” (Bloomberg News)