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U.S. and Afghan Talks with Taliban Suspended
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On Thursday, the Taliban decided to end talks with the United States while Afghan president Hamid Karzai has said that NATO should remove its troops from rural areas and quicken the pace of the transfer of security to Afghan troops in response to 16 civilians being killed.

Karzai’s office released a statement that said Karzai “requested that the international forces come out of Afghan villages and stay in their bases. Afghan security forces have the ability to provide security in the villages of our country.”

  
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An unnamed senior official from the United States did say that Karzai never mentioned immediate removal of U.S. troops from rural villages. The unnamed source said that it would be difficult to remove all U.S. forces from villages by 2013 and that the country was still going to be training Afghan security forces in counterterrorism all throughout the country. It is believed that if the U.S. issued a rapid pullout of forces, it would have trouble challenging the Taliban on the front lines.

One question was raised about the civilian shootings. Karzai had been asked if his request for troop withdrawal was in response to the civilian shootings. Janan Mosazai, the Foreign Ministry spokesman for Karzai, said that the president wanted troop operations in rural towns to end for quite some time now. “The shootings were an unforgivable act of murder in Kandahar. It’s just one other argument for why Afghan soldiers should increasingly lead when it comes to Afghan people in the villages.”

The spokesman also said that “Afghan security forces know a thousand times better than any foreign troops the culturally sensitive ways of dealing with their own people.”

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A statement was released by a Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid, which accused the United States of failing to make good on its promises, making new demands, and claiming that the Taliban was involved in multilateral negotiations. Mujahid’s statement also noted that the Taliban agreed to talk about two problems with the U.S.: a prisoner exchange and creating a Taliban political office in Qatar. The militant group is hoping for the release of five of its top leaders from the military prison located at Guantanamo Bay.

“So the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend all talks with Americans taking place in Qatar from today onwards until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time,” Mujahid said.





 

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