Giving his stamp of approval to the ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that negotiations are “proceeding well” with the militant group to end over 17-year old war in Afghanistan. Trump made the comment after US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad held fourth round of talks with the Taliban in Qatar last week, following which he said significant progress was made.
“Negotiating are proceeding well in Afghanistan after 18 years of fighting...,” Trump said in a series of foreign policy tweets Wednesday. Fighting continues but the people of Afghanistan want peace in this never-ending war. We will soon see if talks will be successful?? Trump said.
Khalilzad held six days of intense negotiations with the Taliban representatives in Doha last week. After the talks, Khalilzad said that the US and the Taliban have drafted the framework of a deal which could pave the way for peace talks with Kabul. Since being appointed in September last, Khalilzad has met with all sides in an attempt to end America’s longest war in which the US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in more than 17 years.
The Taliban control nearly half of Afghanistan and are more powerful than at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion after the 9/11 terror attacks. A day earlier, CIA Director Gina Haspel said “a very robust monitoring regime? would be essential in Afghanistan and the US needed to retain the capability to act in “national interests”.
?It’s very important that we maintain pressure on the terrorist groups that are there and so if there were an eventual peace agreement a very robust monitoring regime would be critical and we would still need to retain the capability to act in our national interests if we needed to,? Haspel said in testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Coats, Director of National Intelligence said that his assessment is that neither the Afghan government nor the Taliban will be able to gain a strategic advantage in the Afghan war in the coming year, even if coalitions support remains at current levels.
However, former US Ambassador to Afghanistan has said the US has de-legitimised the Afghan government by negotiating with the Taliban without its involvement. He described as “surrender” the Trump administration’s framework of a deal with the terror outfit.