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US proposes interim power-sharing deal between Taliban, Afghan government: report

US proposes interim power-sharing deal between Taliban, Afghan government: report
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBlinken to return to Brussels to discuss Russia, Ukraine tensions Blinken warns it would be a 'serious mistake' for Taiwan's status to be changed 'by force' Blinken: China 'didn't do what it needed to do' in early stages of pandemic MORE proposed a power-sharing agreement between Afghan government officials and Taliban leaders in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani as the U.S. faces a possible troop withdrawal deadline of May 1, The Washington Post reported.

In the letter, first reported by Afghanistan’s Tolo News, Blinken told Ghani the U.S. is still considering the withdrawal, saying an abrupt departure could give the Taliban “rapid territorial gains.”

Afghan officials, meanwhile, said their U.S. counterparts do not have the authority to make decisions for the country, according to the Post.

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“We thank the U.S. for its support. They can make a decision on their troops, not on the people of Afghanistan,” Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh said in an event aired on Afghan television Monday.

Saleh added that Blinken's letter does not change the Afghanistan government’s position.

Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem said the militant group has received its own copy of the letter, adding in a statement that “it is under discussion [and] after discussion, we will have a position on it.”

Peace talks in the country have stalled and Taliban fighters have stepped up their attacks on Afghan forces and civilians. The Trump administration and the Taliban reached an agreement to draw down the 2,500 U.S. troops in the country by May 1. The Taliban, however, has not lived up to its commitments to reduce attacks and participate in peace talks with the Afghan government.

While President BidenJoe BidenFederal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Biden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure Jill Biden gives shout out to Champ, Major on National Pet Day MORE, like his predecessor, has spoken of an end to U.S. involvement in indefinite foreign conflicts, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack ReedJack ReedOn The Money: CDC extends coronavirus eviction ban through June 30 | Biden to detail infrastructure proposal Wednesday | US won't quickly lift Trump tariffs on China Senate panel ties on embattled Pentagon nominee Battle heats up over Pentagon spending plans MORE (D-R.I.) said he “would expect some extension” of the U.S. presence.

“Completely withdrawing our troops is sound policy, as American security interests do not require the continued presence of our troops in Afghanistan,” Afghanistan veteran William Ruger, who was nominated under Trump for ambassador to Afghanistan but never confirmed, told the Post.

The State Department declined comment to the Post. The Hill has also reached out to the department for comment.