Ashraf Ghani's US tour postponed amid deal with Taliban

07:40 PM | 7 Sep, 2019
Ashraf Ghani's US tour postponed amid deal with Taliban

KABUL - Afghan president Ashraf Ghani has postponed a visit to Washington scheduled early next week in which he had to discuss the US-Taliban talks on ending America's longest war.

The development followed the abrupt return of US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to Qatar for surprise talks with the insurgents on the deal that he had described as complete just days ago.

The agreement “in principle” to begin a US troop withdrawal only needed President Donald Trump's approval, Khalilzad said on Monday.

It was not immediately clear why President Ashraf Ghani's visit was postponed but since Khalilzad's announcement, two horrific Taliban car bombings have happened in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

The Taliban have explained their surge in deadly attacks including on the capitals of northern Kunduz and Baghlan provinces last weekend as necessary to give them an upper hand in talks with the US .

Taliban have expressed disdain for the Afghan government and during Khalilzad's visit to Kabul this week, Ghani was shown the agreement but not allowed to keep it.

The Taliban have rejected negotiations with the Afghan government as they see it as a puppet of the US .

Ghani's government this week raised objections to the deal and said a full US troop withdrawal without requiring the Taliban to meet certain conditions could lead to “total civil war”.

“Afghans have been bitten by this snake before,” presidential adviser Waheed Omer said Thursday.

On the other hand, President Donald Trump had confirmed that the US would maintain a presence in Afghanistan even if an agreement is made.

He had also warned to take action again if an attack is launched.

“We’re going down to 8,600 and then we make a determination from there,” Trump said in an interview with Fox News radio.