close

News WrapGet Handpicked Stories from our editors directly to your mailbox

  • 542/542 TARGET 272
  • BJP+

    350BJP+

  • CONG+

    89CONG+

  • OTH

    103OTH

Taliban, Washington at odds over Afghanistan troop pullout

US and Taliban delegations met in Qatar in January and are due to meet again this month. 

Taliban, Washington at odds over Afghanistan troop pullout
Representational image

MOSCOW/WASHINGTON: A Taliban official said on Wednesday the United States had promised to withdraw half of its troops from Afghanistan by the end of April, the RIA news agency reported, but Washington said no timeframe had been set. 

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

US and Taliban delegations met in Qatar in January and are due to meet again this month. 

"The Americans told us (last month) that they would withdraw half of their troops from the beginning of February to the end of April," Taliban official Abdul Salam Hanafi was quoted as saying by RIA.

A US State Department spokeswoman said Washington had "not agreed to any timeline for a possible drawdown of troops.

"...If all parties do what is necessary to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a platform for terrorism, as conditions allow we are willing to look at changes in force presence," she added. 

A US official said in January that more talks were needed on U.S. demands for a Taliban ceasefire before any withdrawal.

The Taliban officials were in Moscow for talks with Afghan opposition politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai - discussions the current government in Kabul has said are not in the country`s best interests.

Hanafi said Washington and the Taliban had agreed at talks that all foreign troops would eventually leave, and that Afghanistan would never be used as a base for attacks on the United States.

"The timeline (of the withdrawal) will be discussed at future meetings," Hanafi said.

A US official said in December that Trump was planning to withdraw more than 5,000 of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan.