Press Trust of India

US troop pullout from Afghanistan to end by Christmas

US troop pullout from Afghanistan to end by Christmas
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Washington: US President Donald Trump has sought withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan by Christmas this year.
We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas! Trump said in a tweet Wednesday night.
After an agreement with the Taliban on February 29 this year, the US reduced its force level to 8,600 and turned five bases over to its Afghan partners.
This August, the president made a determination that the conditions in Afghanistan were sufficient to reduce the force presence to between 4,000 and 5,000 by November end.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Security Affairs, David F Helvey, told lawmakers last month that Pentagon is making “prudent planning” to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by May next year.
Meanwhile, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval conveyed to top Afghan peace negotiator Abdullah Abdullah that India supports an independent, democratic, sovereign and peaceful Afghanistan where no terrorists can operate.
Doval and Abdullah held extensive talks on the Afghan peace process under which Kabul is holding direct negotiation with the Taliban for the first time to bring lasting peace to the country.
In the talks, Doval was accompanied by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division) in the Ministry of External Affairs J P Singh.
In a series of tweets, Abdullah, the head of Afghanistan’s peace council, said Doval assured him of India’s full support for the peace efforts and that any peace settlement acceptable to Afghans will have the support of New Delhi.
“Had a constructive discussion with HE Ajit Doval, the NSA of India. We discussed the #AfghanPeaceProcess, & the talks in Doha. He assured me of India’s full support for the peace efforts, & that any peace settlement acceptable to Afghans, will have the support of India,” he said.
The influential Afghan leader also said that Doval further conveyed that India is in favour of an independent, democratic, sovereign and peaceful Afghanistan where no terrorists can operate.
“I thanked India for the invitation, its continued support for Afghanistan, & its constructive role in peace efforts,” he said.
The Afghan delegation accompanying Abdullah comprised Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, Deputy Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), and senior leaders Nasrullah Arsalai, Zeya Gul Rezaee and Farida Momand.
Abdullah arrived here on Tuesday on a five-day visit as part of the efforts to build a regional consensus and support for the Afghan peace process.
He is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
The visit of the influential Afghan leader to India comes in the midst of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha.
The Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country.
India has been a major stakeholder in peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.
On September 12, an Indian delegation attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha while S Jaishankar joined it through video conference.
India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains to Washington’s 18-year war in the country.
The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan since late 2001.
India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any “ungoverned spaces” where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.
India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country including those from the minority community for a prosperous and safe future. (PTI)

 

 

 


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