We are not a 'political tool': Afghan women on Taliban talks

The writer is a member faculty of contemporary studies at NDU Islamabad and can be reached

The writer is a member faculty of contemporary studies at NDU Islamabad and can be reached

Earlier in the day, a member of the Taliban delegation, Abdul Salam Hanefi, was quoted as claiming that Washington agreed during a recent round of talks in Doha to withdraw half its ground troops by the end of April - saying the process had already begun.

Pakistan, Votel said, presents the U.S. with challenges and opportunities in the execution of its South Asia Strategy.

The meeting that kicked off in the Russian capital on Tuesday has been seen as another step in a process aimed at resolving Afghanistan's 17-year war, one that has accelerated since the appointment of US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad last year.

He said that "when the American forces announce the withdrawal of their troops" there could be further "intra-Afghan dialogue".

Representatives of the Afghan authorities and the public are cautious about the United States plans.

The delegation around the table in Moscow included some of Afghanistan's most wealthy and influential men, warlords and others who wielded power in civilian governments. "It will continue in the future with the hope that it can bring peace one day to Afghanistan".

The Moscow talks are officially being organised by members of the Afghan diaspora.

"The process here in Russian Federation will further strengthen the negotiation of Khalilzad, and it's much more effective and fruitful to have it in this region", said former Balkh province governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who is challenging Ghani in elections planned for July.

Mohaqiq also ruled out the intra-Afghan talks in Moscow will not become a confrontation point with the United States as Russian Federation is only hosting the talks and Afghanistan favors contribution of both East and the West and all other countries for the regional peace.

The Taliban reiterated on Wednesday their long-held demand that all foreign troops get out of Afghanistan, rejecting a suggestion by US President Donald Trump of a lingering US focus on counter-terrorism after troops are drawn down.

The venue of the talks indicates an expanding role in Afghanistan for Moscow. "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 added.

Trump offered no specifics about when he would bring home the 14,000 US troops now in Afghanistan.

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who has led the group's negotiating team, told the BBC that a push for total military domination "will not bring peace to Afghanistan".

However, he said some disagreements existed regarding certain views of the political leaders of the group emphasizing that the constitution of Afghanistan is an output of the efforts of Afghans, religious clerics, and elders of the country and some disagreements existed regarding its modification and it is likely that an agreement would be reached in this regard.

"Only they will be able to resolve the key issues involved in the dispute".

Washington has minimal leverage in negotiations, as the Taliban controls large swaths of territory and the capability to conduct spectacular attacks. Girls were banned from secondary school. He said Afghanistan wants good relations with all countries but will not allow anyone to interfere in Afghan affairs. However, the U.S. war against the Taliban in Afghanistan continued, even as the Washington-backed government in Kabul continued to lose territory and troops.

According to Afghan presidential hopeful Hanif Atmar, who will attend the forum, the upcoming event may become an important step and launch inclusive intra-Afghan talks.

The US State Department, however, said no timeline has been set for possible US troop drawdown in Afghanistan.

Britain offered Nissan 80 mil. pounds in Brexit protection in 2016
India's Dinesh Karthik takes stunner to dismiss Black Caps batsman Daryl Mitchell