Regional players pressing for peace in Afghanistan: US commander
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Regional players pressing for peace in Afghanistan: US commander

“Peace talks (are) out there, regional players pressing for peace, the Taliban talking about peace, the Afghan government is talking about peace,” General Scott Miller, who commands the US-led NATO Resolution Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan, said during a New Year celebration at the RS headquarters in Kabul on Tuesday.  General Miller was apparently referring to Iran whose officials have recently expressed their willingness to help establish peace in Afghanistan.  The top US commander in Afghanistan emphasized that in order to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan there needed to be a political settlement. He told the soldiers present at the session to be ready for either “positive processes or negative consequences.” “Are (the RS) able to adapt? Are we able to adjust? Are we able to be in the right place to support positive processes and negative consequences, that’s what I ask you guys to think about in 2019,” Miller said. Meanwhile, peace talks between the US and the Taliban have gained momentum in past months. Despite the "positive processes" in the peace talks, there were some negative developments in the processes. Miller was present at a meeting in October when the most important power broker in southern Afghanistan, Kandahar police chief General Abdul Razeq, was shot dead by the Taliban. In recent weeks, Pakistan also announced its plans to facilitate negotiations between the Taliban and the United States.   Pakistan army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said during a news conference last month that Islamabad supports Washington's outreach to the Taliban which want US troops out of Afghanistan.  Pentagon deploys heavy-lift aviation unit  US President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000 troops, half of the total number of American forces in the country, from Afghanistan.  In contrary news, a White House spokesman said last week that Trump had not issued orders to withdraw the troops. The Trump administration, however, has not denied the reports. Meanwhile, media reported a heavy-lift aviation unit operating large CH-47 Chinook helicopters has been deployed for a year-long mission in Afghanistan. The Chinook, which is capable of lifting 12 tons, has been used by US forces to move troops and heavy equipment for decades.  In 2001, US-led forces invaded Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban regime as part of the so-called Global War on Terrorism. Since then, the US invasion has caused enduring insecurity, left a large number of human casualties and displacements, and the Afghan economy remains in a crippled condition.

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