Code 159412
PublishDate: Tuesday, May 5, 2020 09:55

US Defense Secretary: Afghanistan Peace Process ‘Behind Schedule’

“It’s behind schedule,” Esper said at a Brookings Institute event on Monday. “We continue to talk to both sides about what they need to do to fully implement the agreement.”
Officials had cautiously hoped a peace deal signed in February by the United States and the Taliban would lead to intra-Afghan negotiations that could serve as a new foundation of peace for a country plagued by more than 18 consecutive years of war.
Those intra-Aghan peace efforts stalled, however, as President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, have continued their political battle for power.
“There has not been a reduction in violence, if you will, from the Taliban side,” Esper said at a Brookings Institute event Monday. “On the other hand, they have not attacked us or attacked major metropolitan areas.”
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Friday the “unacceptably high” number of attacks by the Taliban was “not conducive to a diplomatic solution.”


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