Daudzai Says Rapid Troop Withdrawal Would Increase Violence in Afghanistan

Omar Daudzai, the head of the Afghan High Peace Council of Afghanistan, told CNN on Friday that a rapid US troop withdrawal would increase violence in his country.

“If it happened in a matter that’s not orderly … if it happens that it leaves a vacuum behind, then obviously bloodshed would increase,” Daudzai said in an interview with CNN’s Nic Robertson.

With the recent talks between US officials and Taliban negotiators in Doha having discussed ways and means to end the the United States’ long drawn 17-year war in Afghanistan. More talks are due to resume in Doha in late February, as confirmed by Taliban officials.

Daudzi told CNN that while the negotiations have brought “clarity,” neither side has fully agreed to anything.
The Taliban are demanding the United States commit to some withdrawal schedule while the United States wants the Taliban to commit to attacking al Qaeda and ISIS after the deal, he said.

However, as the Taliban repeatedly refuses to talk face to face with the Afghan government, a key issue is left unresolved as per Daudzai, “I think they (Taliban leaders) are worried that unless there is withdrawal schedule announced by US troops, if they meet with the Afghan government (it) would demoralize their commanders and field soldiers.” He added “Why are we fighting if you are talking?”

The Afghan government has always been willing to meet with the Taliban, said Daudzi, the former interior minister of Afghanistan who now leads the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, a group created in 2011 to spearhead reconciliation efforts.

When asked whether the possible pullout of US troops was a major concern, Daudzai said, “We judge the relationship on the ground. We don’t see any practical consequences yet. But a pressure from President Trump — that (he is) going withdraw and reduce costs — that pressure in a way creates concern, but also creates an opportunity.”

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