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Taliban and US rewriting draft of recent Afghan peace agreement

The two sides hope to rewrite agreement during the present talks

The agreement could be rewritten by Sunday. Months of reported progress have made a deal increasingly likely. The basic outline of a deal has been reached and the rewriting will require just working out specifics such as a timetable for withdrawal of all foreign troops. Trump has said he wants to leave intelligence officers but it is not clear if this can be made part of the agreement.

Trump’s recent statements could even put an agreement in jeopardy: “US President Donald Trump, while maintaining that he wants the US to “just get out” of the 18-year mire of a campaign in Afghanistan, has now said he won’t do that after all – leaving behind a “very strong” intelligence presence. In an interview to Fox News’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ aired on Monday, Trump said that he still wanted to pull US troops out of Afghanistan, in line with his previous pledge, but cannot do so since the country has turned into a breeding ground for terrorists in the wake of the US intervention in 2001.”

What to call the Taliban

Another issue causing problems is what to call the Taliban. The Taliban always refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan its name before it was overthrown by the 2001 US invasion. The US objects to the name as giving the Taliban too much legitimacy. The US=backed Afghan government also objects to the name. The Taliban regard the Afghan government as a puppet of the US and refuses to negotiate with it.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo optimistic about peace prospects

Pompeo, whose views are often hawkish, was nevertheless optimistic about the Afghan peace process: “The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said that Afghans deserve an end to the ongoing violence and that the “hour has come for peace in Afghanistan”. He said in a tweet on Wednesday that the US remains committed to the Afghan peace process and to helping those who seek a peaceful future.”

No doubt some within the Trump administration such as John Bolton may not agree that the peace process is likely to succeed. Some may even hope that the deal collapses at the last minute.

Pompeo hopes there will be a deal by September 1 this year as he notes on the appended video.

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