As US and Taliban negotiatorspush to wrap up talks aimed at securing the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, disagreement remains about whether a pact will mean an end to the insurgents’ fight with the US-backed Afghan government.
US negotiators have been pressing the Taliban to agree to peace talks with the Kabul government and to a ceasefire, but a senior Taliban official said that would not happen.“We will continue our fight against the Afghan government and seize power by force,” said the Taliban commander.
Another Taliban commander said a deal was expected to be signed this week under which US forces will stop attacking the Taliban and the militants would end their fight against the US troops.
Under the pact, the United States would also cease supporting the Afghan government, the Taliban officials said.
The disagreement highlights one of the most sensitive issues surrounding the US-Taliban talks — a resentment among many in the Afghan government that they have been sidelined from talks that will decide the future of their country.
It also raises a question over whether the Taliban leadership will be able to impose any peace agreement on field commanders who may be reluctant to give up fighting when they feel on the brink of victory.
Two diplomatic sources with knowledge of the ninth round of talks in Qatar said they expected an agreement to be finalised this week, enabling the US to pull out about half its forces.