Afghan Taliban: no date yet for USA troops drawdown

Afghan regime frozen out of Moscow peace talks with the Taliban

This comes after a senior Taliban member and deputy head of their Qatar office said on Monday, after the first day's session, that the group would talk to the Afghan government once a timeline was set for the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

But the talks, being held over two days in a hotel maintained by the Russian government, included no representatives of President Ashraf Ghani's government, inviting fierce criticism from the US -backed Afghan leader.

Atta Mohammad Nur, a former warlord and governor and President Ashraf Ghani's staunch opponent, tells The Associated Press that Taliban representatives are likely to voice their "vision" on the Afghan constitution and that he is open to their ideas.

It comes as broader peace talks involving the Taliban's political office in the Qatari capital, Doha, appear to be gaining momentum, despite the Taliban's continued refusal to meet directly with Afghan government representatives.

Decades after the Soviet Union's disastrous venture into Afghanistan, Russia is emerging as a major player in the region with ties to the Taliban and Afghan politicians as U.S. troops withdraw from the country.

Officials in Kabul have suggested the discussions in Russian Federation are an attempt by political rivals to undermine the Afghan government, and explore a potential deal with the Taliban without their input. The deal will ensure that terrorist groups are not allowed to use the country as a base of operations and that the United States and other foreign countries will withdraw their troops, Sputnik previously reported. "They can say what they want". Treatment of women under the group's reign, when they were denied the most basic of rights, drew worldwide scorn.

"But after ending their military presence, their non-military teams can come and we need them too, they can come and take part in the reconstruction and development process", he said. The most recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted that the Afghan government controls territory on which 63.5 percent of the population lives.

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Ghani's allies in Washington insist Afghans should lead the peace process, and the months-long push by Washington to engage the Taliban has ostensibly been aimed at convincing them to negotiate with Kabul. "It has been imported from the West and is an obstacle to peace", Sher Abbas Stanikzai, who headed the Taliban delegation, told attendees at a central Moscow hotel.

Those efforts culminated in six days of talks between the U.S. and the Taliban in January where both sides touted "progress" - stoking Afghan fears that America could cut a deal to withdraw its troops before a lasting peace with Kabul is reached.

"The Russian ambassador to Afghanistan has knocked on the doors of all those invited to the meeting many times, urging for their participation", said Sebghatullah Ahmadi, spokesperson for Afghanistan's foreign ministry.

Ghani also questioned the mechanism of the Moscow Talks and said: "With whom, what will they agree upon there?" Pompeo also emphasised the importance of an intra-Afghan dialogue and the inclusion of the Afghan government in peace talks with the Taliban, according to Palladino.

Taliban's chief negotiator said they do not intend to monopolize power after an end to foreign invasion but want to establish an Afghan inclusive Islamic system with the consent of all Afghans.

The Afghan government were not part of the talks in Moscow.

He called for the release of Taliban detainees and claimed that United States and its protectorate regime have detained tens of thousands of Afghans and Taliban in their secret and open prisons. He has held several meetings with the Taliban. "But Afghans prefer a democracy which will be compatible to our values", said Qanooni.

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