US forces reduction in Afghanistan not halted
By mid-January, 2020, Pentagon would drop-down the number of US forces in Afghanistan by 2,500. The US Department of Defence said it has not halted the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Despite the new law which prohibits further reduction without Pentagon’s sending Congress an evaluation of risks.
Furthermore, the Pentagon declared that no new order has been dictated that could affect the continuation of the conditional based decline of forces.
This action will anger Republican and Democrats lawmakers. Who oppose the troops’ decline. A congressional aide said, “If the drawdown continues, it would be a violation of law”.
Moreover, the white house said halting the decline could risk the Afghan peace process. As of February 2019 agreement with Afghan Taliban which called for the complete withdrawal of US forces in return of security guarantees by the insurgent’s groups.
Recap of events
In November, Pentagon declared, US forces would be declined from 4,500 to 2,500. However this month the Congress presented defence policy bill which overrides a veto by US President Trump. It bars using the funds attached for the year 2020 and 2021 to pay the decline below 4,000 US forces till Christopher Miller, the acting Secretary of Defense presents Congress with a comprehensive assessment of risks and its impacts.
Afghan peace talks
Similarly, sources from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s negotiating team told Tolo News that agreement over the agenda of negotiations is not an easy task. Neither side has been flexible over the past three days. Sources have also said, the government negotiating team is focusing ceasefire as a priority in their tasks. On the other hand, the Taliban says, the ceasefire will come when an agreement over future government has reached.
Mir Rahman Rahmani, speaker of Afghan Parliament says, “Parliament is holding the Afghan peace process and will stand against any compromise”.
Additionally, it is not in the interest of the Taliban to agree on ceasefire prior to agreement on future government setup; therefore, they do not want to go for a ceasefire before it.
What’s best for Afghanistan
Meanwhile, Faridoon Khwazoon, spokesman for High Council of National Reconciliation said, negotiations over the unifying agenda have initiated. Hopefully, a decision will be in the best interest of the people of Afghanistan.
The negotiation team travelled to Doha last week. Once again continuing talks which were paused for 23 days. The break ensured each group could consult their leadership over the agenda of negotiation.