US Joint Chiefs chairman Mark A. Milley meets with Taliban on peace talks

US Joint Chiefs chairman Mark A. Milley meets with Taliban on peace talks
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, left, talks with Gen. Scott Miller, the commander of US and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Mark A. Milley, a top US general held unannounced meeting on Tuesday with Taliban peace negotiators in the Persian Gulf to urge a reduction in violence across Afghanistan, even as senior American officials in the country warned that stepped-up Taliban attacks endanger the militant group’s nascent peace negotiations with the government of Afghanistan.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met for about two hours with Taliban negotiating team in Doha, Qatar, and flew Wednesday to Kabul to discuss the peace process with Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan.

Milley’s meetings came amid a new drawdown of US soldiers, although under current US policy a complete pullout hinges on the Taliban reducing attacks across the country.

Milley told: “The most important part of the discussions that I had with both the Taliban and the government of Afghanistan was the need for an immediate reduction in violence.”

“Everything else hinges on that,” he added.

Under ground rules set by Gen. Milley for security purpose, the reporters traveling with him agreed not to report on either set of talks until he had departed the region. It was Milley’s second unannounced meeting with the Taliban’s negotiating team. the first was held in June and also took place in Doha, had not been reported until now.

Although Mark A. Milley reported no breakthrough, his meetings with Taliban represent a remarkable milestone — America’s top general coming face-to-face with representatives of the group that ruled Afghanistan until it was ousted 19 years ago this month.

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