US to announce 4,000-troop drawdown from Afghanistan

Khalilzad had renewed talks with the Taliban earlier this month on steps that could lead to a ceasefire and settlement of the 18-year-long war in Afghanistan, allowing a gradual withdrawal of United States troops from the country.

Trump previously indicated that he meant to withdraw several thousand troops from Afghanistan, where between 12,000 and 13,000 USA troops are now serving in the 18-year war. Pakistan will continue to play its positive role for peace and stability in Afghanistan, he continued.

Last Saturday, U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad began several days of meetings with Taliban representatives in Qatar, where the insurgents maintain a political office.

After his arrival, the U.S. envoy met FM Qureshi and discussed the Afghan reconciliation process with him.

Pakistan, Qureshi said, according to a Foreign Ministry statement, has always believed that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

The ongoing "pause" is the latest interruption in the US-Taliban negotiations. Islamabad expected the US-Taliban talks to resume soon, he added.

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Pakistan also facilitated the landmark first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015, but that process broke down after the Taliban announced the death of their long-time leader Mullah Omer, triggering a bitter power struggle within the militia.

Such attacks, sometimes referred to as "green on green", are a constant threat in the war-torn country for worldwide and Afghan forces alike. He said the Taliban must show willingness to respond to Afghan desire for peace.

He also added "We're taking a brief pause for them to consult their leadership on this essential topic".

"I want to condemn this more coordinated terrorist attack near Bagram Air Force Base in the strongest possible terms", he said.

Hours after the attack, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the assault.

  • Sonia Alvarado