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US & Taliban are close to a troop withdraw deal - Afghan gov't is NOT happy
Posted by: hal
Date: September 06, 2019 11:44AM

The Afghan government has clashed with President Donald Trump's envoy over a proposed troop withdrawal deal with the Taliban, just as Washington is preparing to unveil the agreement, foreign diplomats, Afghan officials and former U.S. officials said.

Afghan officials and U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had tense exchanges in Kabul over the past few days after the American diplomat briefed President Ashraf Ghani and his advisers on the proposed deal with the Taliban, a foreign diplomat and two former U.S. officials said.

Ghani's government responded to the briefing "badly" and the discussions were marked by "raging arguments," said one foreign diplomat familiar with the talks.

The State Department declined to comment on the discussions in Kabul or on details of the proposed U.S.-Taliban deal.

The proposed agreement "in principle" with the Taliban would see the phased withdrawal of U.S. troops in return for the Taliban agreeing to enter into peace talks with the Afghan government and pledging not to allow areas under their control to be used as a launching pad for al Qaeda, Islamic State or other terrorist groups. Khalilzad said this week that if the agreement is approved by President Trump, the United States would initially pull out about 5,000 troops in 135 days.

The Afghan government, which has long been wary of the U.S.-Taliban talks and was never invited to take part, worries that American troops could be withdrawn before a peace agreement is firmly in place and that Washington may have made too many concessions to their adversaries, foreign diplomats and Afghan officials said.
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