Taliban would welcome US troop withdrawal by Christmas


"We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!"

White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien in a speech earlier Wednesday presented a less ambitious pace for withdrawal, saying the US intends to reduce its troop level in Afghanistan to 2,500 by early 2021.

Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the militants who ruled Afghanistan during the 1990s said Mr Trump's announcement was "a positive step towards the implementation of (the) Doha agreement". The Taliban, he said, are "committed to the contents of the agreement and hope for good and positive relations with all countries, including the USA, in the future".

It was 19 years ago in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that American troops were first deployed to Afghanistan to root out and combat the terrorists responsible.

"Ultimately, the Afghans themselves are going to have to work out an accord, a peace agreement. It's going to be slow progress, it's going to be hard progress, but we think it's a necessary step - we think Americans need to come home", Mr O'Brien said.

'As of today, there are under 5,000 and that will go to 2,500 by early next year, ' he added. Trump's post on Wednesday said.

Trump has already reduced U.S. forces in Afghanistan to around 8,600 and the Taliban has stood by promises not to attack Western troops - even as the militants continue their bloody campaign against government forces.

Trump's comments caught most Afghan observers by surprise and the Afghan government did not immediately respond to to the tweet.

'But eventually we as Afghans should be prepared for any eventuality.

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There was no immediate information about the objective of Thursday's meeting but Khalilzad has been keen to get both sides - particularly the Taliban - to sign on to a reduction in violence at least while the Qatar negotiations are underway and until a permanent cease-fire can be negotiated. Little information of substance has emerged from the talks.

Still, both sides have stayed at the negotiating table even as Washington's peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad last week returned to the region. Afghan officials have warned that swift USA withdrawal could further destabilize the country.

In the deal the Trump administration signed with the Taliban in February, all USA troops will leave Afghanistan by May 2021 if conditions are met.

The White House's plan for the drawdown will nearly certainly be subject to review should Trump lose his bid for a second term in next month's election.

President Trump also highlighted massive investment in the USA military by his administration to restore its preparedness.

Although the Afghan government has refused to accept the US-Taliban deal as the foundation of the talks, Khalilzad believes that US-Taliban deal does in fact provide a valid basis.

Kreuger told Stars and Stripes recently that he just hopes his grandson won't also be deployed to Afghanistan to fight the same battles "for the same reason".

Koofi, a 45-year-old womens and human rights activist, former member of parliament and survivor of two armed attacks, said the nomination gave her more strength and authority so that we can better defend and represent Afghan women.

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