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U.S. Troop Pullout from Afghanistan won’t Create ‘power vacuum’: Kabulov

(Last Updated On: February 13, 2019)

Russia’s Presidential Envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will not create a power vacuum and the Taliban can be a potential ally in the fight against Daesh in the country.

Addressing to reporters on Tuesday in Moscow, Kabulov said that if the U.S. fails to strike an agreement on a military pullout with Taliban, “they could stay for another few years but in the end, they’ll have to go, and this time in disgrace.”

This comes as the U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 5 said that he will reduce the 14,000- American troops in Afghanistan, adding that officials are having “constructive talks” with the Taliban and other Afghan groups.

Trump stressed, after a peace agreement, the Taliban must ensure that Afghanistan would not be once again a safe haven for an international terrorist like al-Qaida and ISIS also known as Daesh.

“As we make progress in these negotiations, we will be able to reduce our troop presence and focus on counter-terrorism. And we will indeed focus on counter-terrorism,” he said.

Moscow last week hosted a summit between the Taliban and some Afghan politic and Jihadi figures, where they issued a joint declaration in which they outlined a nine-point approach including U.S. troops pullout from Afghanistan to promote intra-Afghan dialogue aimed at reaching a political settlement in Afghanistan.

At the meanwhile, Kabulov has announced a fresh round of Russia-U.S. talks on Afghanistan that will be held on Feb. 22 in Ankara, Russian media reported.

Kabulov announced the meeting with the U.S. Special representative Zalmay Khalilzad in a joint press conference on Tuesday.

He also said that both sides agreed to meet at a neutral venue in the region and Turkey came up as a “comfortable” option.

“I offered our Turkish partners who are important players (in Afghanistan) to use this trip for bilateral consultations with Turkish colleagues about Afghanistan,” the report noted.

Amid efforts for reaching a peace agreement to end the long-term conflict in Afghanistan, the Taliban have refused to sit in direct negotiation with the Afghan government as calls it a “puppet regime,” while they have held talks with Afghan politicians and U.S. officials.

With Inputs from Bloomberg

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