Taliban: Attacks on Afghan forces won't stop with US deal

Taliban: Attacks on Afghan forces won't stop with US deal
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Two Taliban leaders told Reuters that a peace deal with the U.S. will not end the group's attacks on Afghan forces.

“We will continue our fight against the Afghan government and seize power by force,” one Taliban commander told the outlet on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. and the Taliban have for months been negotiating a deal where American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

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The agreement to end the 18-year-old war reportedly revolves around a U.S. promise to withdraw troops in exchange for a Taliban promise to not let Afghanistan be used as a base for terrorism.

Another unnamed Taliban commander told Reuters that a deal is expected to be signed this week under which U.S. forces would stop attacking the Taliban and the militants would end their fight against the U.S. troops.

Both commanders said that under the agreement, the U.S. would also cease supporting the Afghan government.

“The Americans will not come to the assistance of the Afghan government and its forces in their fight against us,” the first official told the outlet.

U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad denied that interpretation of negotiations in a series of tweets following Reuters's report.

"A Reuters report quoting two unnamed Talib commanders alleges we will cease support of the Afghan forces as part of any agreement," Khalilzad tweeted. "Not true!"

"No one should be intimidated or fooled by propoganda! Let me be clear: We will defend Afghan forces now and after any agreement w/ the Talibs. All sides agree Afghanistan’s future will be determined in intra-Afghan negotiations."

 

The U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014.

Roughly 20,000 American and allied troops remain in the country.