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Ambassador Roya Rahmani: Trump administration leaves Afghanistan in dark with direct Taliban talks

17 May 2019 1TV News

2019-05-17 | 17 minute ago

The Trump administration's direct talks with the Taliban have left the Afghanistan in the dark, raising concern that any peace deal will lack the public support to work, Afghan ambassador to US, Roya Rahmani warned.

Ms. Rahmani told a small group of reporters this week about fears that the emerging U.S. plan will only embolden the Taliban on the battlefield, increasing pressure on the beleaguered government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

The pointed comments from Afghan Ambassador Roya Rahmani were the latest sign of deepening distrust between allies. U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has stepped up unprecedented direct talks with the militant Taliban amid reports that President Trump is eager to withdraw U.S. forces from what is already the longest war in the country’s history.

“The [Afghan] government does not feel they have been briefed enough” on the Khalilzad talks, the Afghan envoy said. “If a peace [deal] is to be negotiated and is to be durable, it cannot keep going on without the presence of the Afghan people.

“For the Taliban to discuss [peace] on behalf of 35 million Afghans, on what basis are they going to that?” she asked. “They are not our government, they are not our representatives.”

She made the comments weeks after hundreds of Afghan parliamentarians, senators, and provincial and district leaders met in Kabul for the Loya Jirga council of elders to discuss the way ahead for inclusive peace talks. Ending the war in Afghanistan “should be decided by the people who are most affected by this process,” the ambassador said.

The Taliban have repeatedly dismissed the legitimacy of the Afghan government and Mr. Ghani, saying Kabul is a puppet regime of the U.S. and its Western allies. The militants who were in power at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 still adhere to the political view of modern society governed under strict Islamic law.

Ms. Rahmani further said sidelining the elected government in Kabul will undercut any hopes of a final deal.

The talks, she said, “cannot keep going on without the backing of the Afghan people.”

“They clearly choose violence as a means of leverage,” said Ms. Rahmani, arguing that the U.S. bilateral talks have only emboldened the Taliban’s brazenness. “It has contributed to their morale on the ground.”

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