Iran offers facilities for Afghan peace talks

Afghan women demonstrating at a rally to demand peace in Jalalabad Afghanistan on Sept 16 2020

In an interview segment with CBS' "60 Minutes" published on Thursday, McMaster said that moving to withdraw American forces from Afghanistan was an "unwise" policy.

First was the release of all 5000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1000 members of Afghan defence forces, which was initially opposed by the Afghan government and now opposed by key North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies against the release of six hardcore members of Taliban involved in attacks on their soldiers and secondly, the commencement of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghan soil, as committed by it in Peace Agreement of 29 February between the two sides.

In his book "Battlegrounds", McMaster writes that the president has "cheapened" the lives of USA troops who died in Afghanistan by giving in too much to the Taliban, "60 Minutes" reported.

So far the Taliban hasn't spoken a lot about it, but Afghan negotiator Abdullah Abdullah ssuggested that he'd offer more prisoner releases if the Taliban agreed.

He said 11 Afghan security personnel were killed in fighting in Hesarak, while eight pro-government militiamen were killed in Khogyani.

The National Security Council did not immediately return a request for comment. In the deal with the Taliban, the US vowed to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan within 14 months if the Taliban followed through on their end of the deal.

The U.S. agreed to a peace deal with the Taliban in February, but representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban have begun meeting this month for their own agreement.

The latest violence came as the Afghan government and Taliban are engaged in talks in Doha aimed at ending the long-running conflict. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Doha this month for the opening of the talks. Since then, he has voicedcriticism of some of his former peers. Hecriticized the Trump administration in November for moving to withdraw USA troops from northern Syria, saying the move would destabilize the region and offer opportunities for Russian Federation to gain greater control in the area.



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