Published: Fri, January 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Taliban kill 21 Afghan security personnel

Taliban kill 21 Afghan security personnel

The news came days after Iran started negotiations with the Taliban in Tehran with the aim of establishing peace in Afghanistan, at a time when the U.S. is also in talks with the insurgent group and has held three rounds of discussions in recent months.

The relentless violence and deteriorating security battering Afghanistan comes as President Donald Trump is expected to order the withdrawal in the summer of 7,000 USA soldiers. The Associated Press reported this forced civilians to flee, although officials said there were no reports of civilian casualties... Diplomat further said, "The situation can turn from bad to worse very quickly".

The news came out follows talks last week between the U.S. and Taliban officials in the United Arab Emirates.

The top USA general in Afghanistan said 2019 was going to be an interesting year.

"While the news of a potential U.S. drawdown may be a reason for cautious optimism in the region, they don't want an abrupt withdrawal", said Graeme Smith, a consultant for the International Crisis Group.

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According to the top USA general in Afghanistan, peace talks with the Taliban could go either way and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops must be ready for "any outcome".

The United States has recently stepped up diplomatic efforts to seek a political resolution to the Afghan war and held several rounds of talks with Taliban representatives in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Afghanistan, which shares borders with Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China, is already the world's second biggest source of refugees, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "However, we have made it clear to all the stakeholders that we will not talk to the Afghan government".

The Afghan government was aware of the visit, he said, adding that Iran is trying to find out if it can be "helpful" to peace in Afghanistan.

In recent days, Taliban representatives have met with Iran, as Tehran makes a more concerted and open push for peace ahead of a possible U.S. drawdown. But, the militants refused to meet a delegation from Afghanistan.

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