Much-Troubled Peace Talks: Taliban Lays Down Conditions, US To Send More Troops In Afghanistan
The Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey will hold talks on April 23 in Istanbul, without the representatives of the Taliban.
“The trilateral meeting will cover the latest developments regarding the Afghan peace process, security cooperation, energy, communications and illegal migration,” Turkish Foreign Ministry officials said.
The foreign ministers agreed to discuss these issues after the refusal of representatives of the Taliban movement to participate in peace talks that were previously scheduled for April 24.
After the US administration announced that it would withdraw troops from the country only by September 11, 2021, the Taliban claimed that they would not meet until all foreign forces had left Afghanistan.
Turkey decided to postpone the Istanbul conference until the end of celebration of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.
On April 22, the Taliban revealed the reasons for postponing talks with the United States until the end of Ramadan. According to Tolonews, the Taliban demanded to release its prisoners and lift UN sanctions against the leaders of the terrorist organization.
Pakistan is playing an active mediating role in the negotiation process. Islamabad is trying to convince the Taliban to take part in the “Istanbul conference”. On April 22, the Pakistani delegation visited Kabul for in-depth discussions on improving bilateral relations.
At the same time, there is an alternative platform for negotiations. A meeting of the “expanded troika” on the settlement in Afghanistan that includes representatives from Russia, the United States, China, Pakistan was scheduled in Doha next week.
Two American soldiers in June, 2019 in Wardak Province, Afghanistan. (Thomas Watkins/Agence France-Presse)
On April 14, US President Joe Biden claimed that US troops would leave Afghanistan until September 11 in place of May 1, according to one of the key conditions for the negotiation process.
Moreover, according to the spokesman for the US Department of Defense, the US may even temporarily increase its military contingent in Afghanistan. According to US Assistant to the President for National Security, Washington also decided to retain part of the contingent to guard its embassy.
Finally, on April 20, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said that U.S. Central Command and American diplomats are working with nations surrounding Afghanistan on agreements to base troops and aircraft for counter terrorism inside the country following the military’s withdrawal.
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