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PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Taliban have sent a delegation to Russia to discuss prospects for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan following the collapse of talks with the United States this month, officials from the insurgent group said.
The move, days after President Donald Trump canceled a planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat, came as the movement looks to bolster regional support, with visits also planned for China, Iran and Central Asian states.
CENTCOM chief says the US will ramp up operations against the Taliban as Afghan peace talks collapse
BAGRAM AIRFIELD (Reuters) - The U.S. military is likely to accelerate the pace of its operations in Afghanistan to counter an increase in Taliban attacks, a senior U.S. general said on Monday following Washington's suspension of peace talks with the insurgents.
U.S. Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, said during a visit to Afghanistan that the Taliban overplayed its hand in peace negotiations by carrying out a spate of high profile attacks, including one that killed a U.S. soldier last week.
KABUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's decision to cancel Afghan peace talks will cost more American lives, the Taliban said on Sunday while the United States promised to keep up military pressure on the militants, in a stunning reversal of efforts to forge a deal ending nearly 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
The Islamist group issued a statement after Trump unexpectedly canceled secret talks planned for Sunday with the Taliban's major leaders at the presidential compound in Camp David, Maryland. He broke off the talks on Saturday after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul last week that killed an American soldier and 11 others.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, criticized Trump for calling off the dialogue and said U.S. forces have been pounding Afghanistan with attacks at the same time.
"This will lead to more losses to the U.S.," he said. "Its credibility will be affected, its anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase."
ABUL (Reuters) - The United States would withdraw almost 5,000 troops from Afghanistan and close five bases within 135 days under a draft peace accord agreed with the Taliban, the chief U.S. negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Monday.
The deal, reached after months of negotiations with representatives from the insurgent movement, must still be approved by U.S. President Donald Trump before it can be signed, Khalilzad said in an interview with Tolo News television.
"In principle, we have got there," he said. "The document is closed."
Trump: US will 'always' maintain a military presence in Afghanistan even if a deal is reached with the Taliban
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Thursday that U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan were being reduced to 8,600 but that American forces would remain in the country even if Washington reaches an agreement with the Taliban to end the 18-year war.
"Oh yeah, you have to keep a presence," Trump said in an interview with Fox News radio. "We're going to keep a presence there. We're reducing that presence very substantially and we're going to always have a presence. We're going to have high intelligence."
Despite President Donald Trump's constant reminders that the U.S. military could quickly and decisively win the war in Afghanistan at the cost of millions of innocent lives, the U.S. government is committed to negotiating with the Taliban rather than atomizing them.
Trump has said several times since July that he could simply destroy Afghanistan if he wanted to. Most recently, Trump stated during his Aug. 26 meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi that, "I've said we can win that war in a very short period of time, but I'm not looking to kill 10 million people, okay?"
Although the president has insisted that he is not talking about a nuclear option for Afghanistan, it is unclear how else the U.S. military would be able to wipe out 10 million Afghans so quickly.