We are not a 'political tool': Afghan women on Taliban talks

We are not a 'political tool': Afghan women on Taliban talks

We are not a 'political tool': Afghan women on Taliban talks

He said the group would not agree to a ceasefire until foreign forces were withdrawn from Afghanistan. "Everything" must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive cease-fire".

The US has issued no details on any potential withdrawal plan.

"At the first step, we want all the foreign forces to leave and end the military presence in our country", said Sohail Shahin, a spokesman for a Taliban office in Qatar and a member of a Taliban team now meeting Afghan opposition politicians in Moscow.

Debate: What future for Afghanistan without United States troops?

Elaborating on the growing talk of a peace deal in Afghanistan, the Taliban says that they have received commitments for a major USA drawdown from the country in the next couple of months.

Earlier, the Taliban hailed two days of unprecedented talks with Afghan politicians as very successful despite disagreements over women's rights and their demands for an Islamic constitution.

At talks last month, the Taliban agreed with the USA on the withdrawal of "all foreign troops from Afghanistan" and "that the soil of Afghanistan would not be used against them", said Stanikzai.

US President Donald Trump spoke out about bringing troops home from Afghanistan during his State of Union address.

"Ultimately, we need to get to a Taliban-Afghanistan discussion", Votel told USA lawmakers on February 5.

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India, which hasn't shied away from sounding off about all manner of worldwide issues ever since Prime Minister Modi's election in 2014, has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about its attitude towards America's Afghan peace talks with the Taliban, leading many observers to intuit that it's extremely unhappy with this process but is applying the age-old wisdom about how "it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt" in order to avoid the ignoble distinction of being the only country in the world to condemn the latest steps taken to end this almost two-decade-long conflict.

The sheer optics of the United States, which for the better part of the two decades has been fighting the Taliban, now recognizing the insurgent group as a legitimate interlocutor while ignoring the claims of the Ghani government can be quite damaging for broader American foreign and security policy.

"I... (lived) in Afghanistan during (the) Taliban time and I know their interpretation of Islamic rights of (a) woman is different", Koofi, head of Afghanistan's parliamentary Committee on Women and Human Rights, told reporters. The talks, however, have sidelined Ghani and his government.

US-led forces in 2001 toppled the hardline Taliban for harboring the al Qaeda militants responsible for the September 11 attacks. Yet the words which follow are anything but reassuring, warning that "immorality, indecency and circulation of non-Islamic culture" have been imposed on Afghan society "under the name of women [sic] rights".

While Moscow has sought to distance itself from the conference, calling it an initiative of the Afghan diasporas, few doubt the Kremlin's deep involvement. "They can say what they want".

However, the gathering has been criticized by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Mr Stanikzai has overseen a series of meetings with the U.S. special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, in recent months. The most recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction noted that the Afghan government controls territory on which 63.5 percent of the population lives.

Their military partnership was "unwavering" and would remain until a lasting and inclusive peace was achieved, he said.

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