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Top U.S. General meets Taliban negotiators

File photo of General Mark Milley.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The top U.S. general held unannounced talks with Taliban peace negotiators in the Persian Gulf to urge a reduction in violence across Afghanistan, even as senior American officials in Kabul warned that stepped-up Taliban attacks endanger the militant group’s nascent peace negotiations with the Afghan government.

Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met for about two hours with Taliban negotiators in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, and flew Wednesday to Kabul to discuss the peace process with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Gen. Milley’s meetings came amid a new drawdown of U.S. troops, although under the current U.S. policy, a complete pullout hinges on the Taliban reducing attacks nationwide.

“The most important part of the discussions that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence,” Gen. Milley told reporters,. “Everything else hinges on that.”

Army Gen. Scott Miller, the top commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said in an interview at his military headquarters in Kabul on Wednesday that the Taliban have stepped up attacks on Afghan forces, particularly in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, and against roadways and other infrastructure. “My assessment is, it puts the peace process at risk — the higher the violence, the higher the risk,” he said. Gen. Miller meets at least once a month with Taliban negotiators as part of Washington's effort to advance a peace process.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 10:31:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/top-us-general-meets-taliban-negotiators/article33357421.ece

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