Top US General Milley meets Taliban, Ghani in his secret visit

US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley undertook an undeclaredvisit to the region to hold talks with the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, as per American media reports

Dec 18, 2020
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US Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley undertook an undeclaredvisit to the region to hold talks with the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, as per American media reports. 

General Milley first flew to Doha, Qatar on Tuesday where he met the Taliban delegation and took stock of the intra-Afghan peace process. The next day, on Wednesday, Milley went to Kabul to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Afghan NSA Hamidullah Mohib, and Afghan Army chief General Yasin Zia. 

“The most important part of the discussion that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was [the] need for an immediate reduction in violence. Everything else hinges on that,” General Milley was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

General Miller, the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, also accompanied him on his trip to the region. 
 
The meetings with the top US general comes after the warring Afghan sides took a 23-day break in intra-Afghan talks in Doha for further consultation. Soon after the meeting in Doha on Tuesday, the Taliban delegation led by Mullah Baradar had left for Pakistan. 

The issue of the ceasefire has now gained more traction ever since the two sides took a 23 days break. Ghani repeated his call for a reduction of violence in Afghanistan when had a telephonic call with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. 

There is also a sense of further delay in talks. The US special representative, Zalmay Khalilzad, on Tuesday tweeted, “Given how much is at stake, it is imperative that there is no delay in the resumption of talks and they must resume on Jan 5 as agreed.”  He also added that the need for a political settlement, reduction in violence, and a ceasefire remain urgent. 

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