Fri, 07 May 2021

Taliban Shun Afghanistan Talks Until Foreign Forces Go

Voice of America
14 Apr 2021, 08:35 GMT+10

DOHA, QATAR - The Taliban said on Tuesday they would not attend a summit on Afghanistan's future in Turkey this month until all foreign forces leave their country.

"Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, (we) will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan," tweeted Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban office in Qatar.

His intervention came just hours after it emerged that the U.S. would withdraw its forces from Afghanistan around five months later than Washington had originally agreed with the insurgents.

U.S. officials said President Joe Biden would withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan before this year's 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani FILE - U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army Base in Logar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2018.

The drawdown, finally ending America's longest war despite mounting fears of a Taliban victory, delays by around five months an agreement with the Taliban inked by former President Donald Trump to pull troops.

There is a growing consensus in Washington that little more can be achieved in the conflict-torn nation.

The decision came as Turkey announced an international peace conference on Afghanistan that the hosts hope could pave the way to a power-sharing arrangement.

The conference, due to be held in Istanbul from April 24 to May 4, will seek to revive long-stalled peace talks that are being hosted in the Qatari capital Doha.

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