No timetable for USA withdrawal from Afghanistan: Khalilzad

No timetable for USA withdrawal from Afghanistan: Khalilzad

No timetable for USA withdrawal from Afghanistan: Khalilzad

The leader of the Taliban's peace negotiations with the United States says the insurgents do not want to seize "the whole country by [military] power".

He said the group would not agree to a ceasefire until foreign forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan.

But the USA special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who led the U.S. side at the talks in Doha, Qatar, has repeatedly stressed that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed". These included former president Hamid Karzai, ex-national security chief Haneef Atmar and an ally of Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah.

The two-day meeting in the Russian capital between the Taliban and Afghan figures, which starts Tuesday, is seen as another step in a process aimed at resolving Afghanistan's 17-year war, one that has accelerated since the appointment last September of US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. "We can find complete peace in Afghanistan".

Mr Stanikzai, who until recently was the head of the Taliban's political office in Qatar and remains a leading figure in the group, was giving his first interview to the worldwide media while attending a meeting in Moscow with senior Afghan opposition politicians.

President Donald Trump in his State of the Union speech Tuesday hinted at a possible US military drawdown, saying his administration has accelerated negotiations with the Taliban to reach a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Talks have mostly focused on a US troop withdrawal and guarantees from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack other countries, according to both Khalilzad and Taliban officials.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday his administration had accelerated talks for a political settlement in Afghanistan and would be able to reduce U.S. troops there as negotiations advanced to end America's longest war.

"They arrived there late, fought back and managed to get the checkpoint under control", he added.

The insurgents have refused to negotiate with Ghani's government, calling it a USA puppet.

2001: Taliban are toppled in US-led invasion of Afghanistan after 9/11 attacks in the US. "They are fighting against the government and state, so it is the government who they should talk with", added January.

But Pakistan "has avoided taking any concrete or irreversible steps such as arresting or expelling Taliban leaders who do not cooperate with reconciliation efforts", he said.

On the critical issue of women's rights, Stanikzai said the Taliban were committed to all rights of women "that have been given to them by the sacred religion of Islam".

But the lengthy statement also warned that, "Under the name of women [sic] rights, there has been work for immorality, indecency and circulation of non-Islamic cultures".

"The policy of the Islamic Emirate is to protect the rights of women in a way that neither their legitimate rights are violated nor their human dignity and Afghan values are threatened", he was quoted as saying.

Many of those American allies later became the Taliban - enemies of the United States when the Americans made a decision to invade Afghanistan. They oppose civil society, disdain women activists & want to curtail women's individual freedoms. The insurgents recognize that while they may never be able to defeat the United States militarily, neither can the US completely pacify the insurgency.

"No one can decide without the consent of the Afghan people", Ghani told Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews.

She, however, said "we need to make sure everything they say here, they mean it".

However, he said, the Afghan government will wait to see what they bring on the table.

Ghani tweeted that Pompeo "stressed that our military partnership is unwavering and will remain until a lasting and inclusive peace is achieved".

President Ghani and his allies campaign for an "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" peace process, in which the government plays a central role by engaging directly with the Taliban.

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