The US envoy says the Taliban have agreed to reduce Afghan casualties

A U.S. envoy said Thursday that the Afghan Taliban had promised to reduce attacks and casualties to U.S. forces after questioning ongoing peace talks following a major attack on a city.

 

The US envoy says the Taliban have agreed to reduce Afghan casualties



Zalmai Khalilzad, who negotiated an agreement with the Taliban on February 29 to withdraw US troops, wrote on Twitter: "A lot of Afghans are being killed right now. I expect a significant reduction. "

 

Khalilzad said he and the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General Austin Miller, had repeatedly discussed "strict adherence" to the terms of the agreement with the Taliban.

 

"It means a small number of operations," Khalilzad said.

 

"Attacks have been on the rise in recent weeks - threatening the peace process and intimidating the Afghan people and their regional and international supporters."

 

The Taliban has confirmed that their chief negotiator, Abdul Hakim, recently met with Khalilzad and Miller.

 

The group's spokesman, Mohammad Naseem Wardak, tweeted that the two sides stressed the importance of the US-Taliban agreement and discussed ways to ensure its "full implementation".

 

Under the February agreement, the Taliban said they would not attack cities, while the United States said it would refrain from attacking insurgents in addition to defending its forces.

 

Afghan officials have accused the Taliban of violating the agreement by attacking Lashkar Gar, from which tens of thousands have fled in recent days.

 

The bomber struck shortly afternoon in front of a U.S. military base.

 

Under the February agreement, the Taliban agreed not to allow Afghanistan to be used’ by foreign militants. This was the real reason for the US invasion after the 9/11 attacks.

 

The Taliban have not promised an end to violence against the internationally recognized government in Kabul but have said they will discuss a "permanent and comprehensive ceasefire" in peace talks.

 

The talks began in Doha last month, although little progress has been made’ despite controversy over the nature of the talks.

 

The NATO chief, who is leading operations in Afghanistan, said the alliance was committed to the nation's security and had spoken to Khalilzad.

 

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter: "The Doha talks offer the best opportunity for peace, but the Taliban must deliver on its promises and reduce the unacceptable level of violence."

 

With less than a month to go before the US election, President Donald Trump is trying to deliver on his promise to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and end America's longest-running war.

 

He expressed hope for the withdrawal of all troops by Christmas last week, accelerating the deadline set in Doha.

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