United States envoy: Pakistan freed Taliban leader at U.S. request

United States envoy: Pakistan freed Taliban leader at U.S. request

Khalilzad said the USA would prefer a peace agreement before July "to bring the Taliban also into the process so that peace agreement would facilitate a peaceful election or a peaceful framework for proceedings with regard to the future of Afghanistan".

Citing unnamed Defence Department officials, the newspaper said the United States attacks had reached the highest level since 2014, with the surge having started during the fall, The peace talks followed President Donald Trump's announcement that he would begin withdrawing USA troops from Afghanistan and wind down the almost 18-year war.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan who has spoken extensively with the Taleban in recent weeks, also stressed that any United States troop withdrawal would be dependent on conditions on the ground, and not on any particular timetable.

Tempering expectations, the Trump administration's peace envoy for Afghanistan said Friday that although his talks with the Taliban have produced a tentative "framework" agreement, negotiations are far from finished.

"Let's seize this opportunity, this moment for the region for Afghanistan, especially for the obviously long suffering people of Afghanistan", He fled to Pakistan after the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban government and was later arrested during an operation near Karachi city.

The Taliban has yet to make concessions on two key US demands - implementing a cease-fire and agreeing to negotiate directly with Afghan government representatives as part of an Afghan-led, intra-Afghan peace process.

The talks come as US President Donald Trump pushes to end the Afghan conflict, where about 14,000 US troops are still deployed and which has seen countless thousands of civilian and military deaths, as well as an infusion of more than $1 trillion in US cash into the country.

The Taliban considers the Kabul government a Western puppet and has so far refused to directly negotiate with it.

The Times said the Taliban had complained about the increase in airstrikes and raids.

The Afghan government, which was not invited in last week's Moscow talks, slammed Russian Federation for allowing the United Nations blacklisted Taliban members to take part in the talks. "It's a different country and it will take time for Taliban, perhaps to appreciate that but the message that they have given me is that they understand that they can not go back", Khalilzad said.

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So, the time has come, they say for an inclusive dialogue leading to an inclusive piece, he said. They say they want peace.

"Peace in Afghanistan will help Afghan-Pakistan relations and regional connectivity".

Today, the Taliban seem to have turned the tables on him - with Russia's help.

Additionally, the Taliban have promised not to provide shelter again to foreign extremists, but experts say they can not be trusted and even now are helping to hide foreign militants.

Hanafi made the troop withdrawal claim in Moscow, where Taliban delegates held talks with prominent Afghan politicians. They are going to be part of the political process of Afghanistan.

"That is a red line, and I think that's a policy of the (US) president as well". "Our enemies are attacking us; therefore, we are also combating them", Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid was quoted as saying by DawnNewsTV.

Khalilzad has in recent months held multiple meetings with Taleban officials in Qatar, where the group's senior leaders have an office in the capital Doha.

But, to date, the Taliban has negotiated only directly with the United States, largely cutting the Afghan government out of the discussion.

Afghan political analyst Mushtaq Rahim said there was a backlash in Afghan civil society against those who attended.

The US has accepted Prime Minister Imran Khan stance on holding talks with the Taliban as correct, they added. They got "the biggest advantage" out of this meeting, he said, whereas Ghani appeared to be "totally isolated".

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