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In policy shift, US pursues direct talks with Taliban

In policy shift, US pursues direct talks with Taliban

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Jul 16, 2018 - 11:49

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): In what appears a major shift in US policy on Afghanistaninfo-icon, American diplomats have been directed to pursue direct talks with the Talibaninfo-icon, a media report said on Monday.

Over the past few weeks, US officials have visited Kabul and Islamabad to pave the ground for direct negotiations with Taliban. Previously, the US had ruled out face-to-face dialogue with the rebel movement.

Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefly visited Kabul. Alice G. Wells, President Donald Trump’s point-person for the region, also met top officials in Afghanistan and Pakistaninfo-icon.

Senior American and Afghan officials confirmed the change in US policy to The New York Times. The shift is aimed to ensure comprehensive negotiations on ending the longest war in US history.

The shift stems from a realisation by Afghan and American officials that President Trump’s South Asia strategy, which was rolled out in August 2017, has not yielded significant progress in undoing Taliban’s gains.

Washington’s willingness to hold direct parleys with the insurgents was reflective of the sense of urgency in the Trump administration to break the stalemate in Afghanistan, the newspaper said.

The move is perceived as part of a bigger push to inject new momentum into efforts, including last month’s unprecedented truce, to bring the war to an end.

The US has also stepped up pressure on Pakistan to stop providing sanctuary to Taliban leaders and a rallying of Islamic nations against the insurgency’s ideology.

PANinfo-icon Monitor/mud

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