Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Withdrawal of US Troops Will Boost Taliban

Withdrawal of US Troops Will Boost Taliban

WASHINGTON - Retired US General Jack Keane told US news outlet The National Interest that the Taliban’s leaders calculate that a withdrawal of US troops would produce a massive boost to their movement in Afghanistan.
Gen. Keane believes that the troops' withdrawal also would amount to a US admission of defeat and guarantee the legitimacy of the political wing of the Taliban.
Despite goodwill gestures from the Taliban and declining interest among Americans, it is important that the United States remains in Afghanistan, Keane said.
Over the past 18 years, he said, he US has made tremendous progress at preventing another attack on the US from al-Qaeda originating from Afghanistan.
Keane also said his sources in Afghanistan say the Taliban wouldn’t win a single district in the event of an election.
“The people absolutely do not want them because they’re living under their boot,” Keane said of the Taliban. “They’re living under their tyranny. They’re living under the fact that they can’t educate their children.”
On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded "demonstrable evidence" from the Taliban that it can and will reduce violence before signing a deal that would lead to Afghanistan peace talks and a withdrawal of American troops from the country, according to an AP report.
Speaking at a news conference in neighboring Uzbekistan, Pompeo said a deal is close but that they have been close before and failed because the Taliban was unable to demonstrate its seriousness. He said more work remains to be done so that peace talks can get started.
"We're working on a peace and reconciliation plan, putting the commas in the right place, getting the sentences right," he said. "We got close once before to having an agreement: a piece of paper that we mutually executed, and the Taliban were unable to demonstrate either their will or capacity or both to deliver on a reduction in violence."
"So, what we are demanding now is demonstrable evidence of their will and capacity to reduce violence, to take down the threat, so the inter-Afghan talks ... will have a less violent context," he said. "We're hopeful we can achieve that but we're not there yet and work certainly remains."
Pompeo's comments came just two days after US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul and told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani there has been "no notable progress" in talks with the Taliban.
However, Khalilzad said he was hopeful of reaching an understanding with them on a reduction of hostilities, without offering any time frame.
The US currently has about 13,000 soldiers in Afghanistan.
In response to Pompeo’s remarks, Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said in a tweet that the Taliban has “the intention and capacity for a resolution.”
He said that the negotiation process “has been harmed by Trump’s tweet, numerous US demands and quarrel between the US and Kabul officials.”
He said that Secretary Pompeo “should refrain from blame-shifting." (TOLO NEWS)