US says decision unclear on May 1 ‘posture of strength’ in Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani News
The US government said “all options remain on the table” for the remaining 2,500 troops, adding that it had not made any decision regarding its May Day engagement.
The United States says it made no decision on its military engagement in Afghanistan before the May 1 deadline to withdraw the remaining 2,500 troops from the country.
The State Department’s comments to Reuters news agency came after reports were released that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had made an urgent push for peace efforts in a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani published Sunday by TOLOnews, an Afghan media.
The letter, confirmed by senior Afghan officials, was sent to Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the peace council, and was discussed with Afghan leaders by US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad during his visit to Kabul this week. last, officials said.
“The letter was delivered to President Ghani and myself two days before Khalilzad’s visit,” Abdullah said at a rally in Kabul on Monday.
‘All options remain on the table’
A spokeswoman for the US State Department said Sunday that Washington had “made no decision regarding our position of strength in Afghanistan after May 1”.
“All options remain on the table,” she said.
According to the letter released by TOLOnews, Blinken said the United States was pursuing high-level diplomatic efforts “to move things more fundamentally and more quickly towards a settlement and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” and that the The US military planned to leave Afghanistan by May 1.
In the event of a US military withdrawal, Blinken expressed concern that “the security situation will worsen and that the Taliban could achieve rapid territorial gains”, adding that he hoped Ghani “would understand the urgency of my tone”.
The letter also said the United States would ask the United Nations to convene a meeting of foreign ministers and envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India and the United States. “To discuss a unified approach to support peace in Afghanistan” and would ask Turkey to host a high-level meeting of “both sides in the coming weeks to finalize a peace deal”.
In order to “prevent a spring Taliban offensive,” the letter also proposed a 90-day reduction in violence.
Ghani met with US Special Envoy Khalilzad in Kabul last week to find out how to revive the stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and Taliban representatives currently underway in Qatar.
On Saturday, Ghani, in a bid to move the peace talks forward, said his government was ready to discuss holding new elections, insisting that any new government should emerge through a democratic process.
Taliban spokesman Naeem Wardak confirmed on Saturday a meeting between the Khalilzad armed group and General Scott Miller, the head of the US forces and the NATO-led non-combat Resolute Support mission.
“Both sides expressed their commitment to the Doha agreement and discussed its full implementation. Likewise, the current situation in Afghanistan and the speed and efficiency of intra-Afghan negotiations were discussed, ”Wardak said.
Violence and targeted killings have increased since the Afghan government began US-backed negotiations with the Taliban last September, but talks have largely stalled.