Taliban talks last month in Qatar with the United States were a success, their chief negotiator said on a visit to Moscow on Tuesday.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy to Afghanistan, where the United States has been engaged militarily for more than seventeen years, announced at the end of January that it had reached a draft framework agreement with the Islamist militia, after six days of talks in Qatar.
Only the main lines have been fixed.
In Moscow, the head of the Taliban delegation wanted an agreement on a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops to be concluded quickly.
In Washington, before a Senate committee, US General Joseph Votel, head of Central Command, was much more cautious, saying that the peace process was still in its infancy and deplored the fact that the Taliban refuse any dialogue with the Afghan government, which it judges in the pay of the United States.
“The Afghan government must be part of the solution and must be involved in all aspects of the negotiations, and that can not be done on their behalf,” said General Votel.
No peace agreement will be reached without Kabul’s approval, warned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“It’s up to the Afghan government to decide,” he told Tolo News. “No power in this country can dissolve the government (…) Rest assured that no one can defeat us.”
General Votel, who is responsible for US military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia, added that the United States would continue to financially support Afghan security forces even if their troops were withdrawn.
Two members of the US administration announced at the end of December to everyone’s surprise that Donald Trump was planning to repatriate at least 5,000 of the 14,000 US military in Afghanistan in the near future.