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U.S. defense chief Lloyd Austin arrives in Kabul on first trip to Afghanistan

He is predicted to meet with senior Afghan authorities officers, together with President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghanistan media studies that U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived on Sunday in Kabul on his first trip to Afghanistan as Pentagon chief, amid swirling questions on how lengthy American troops will stay in the nation.

State-owned Radio and Television Afghanistan and in style TOLO Television reported Mr. Austin’s arrival in Kabul from India. He was anticipated to meet with senior Afghan authorities officers, together with President Ashraf Ghani.

U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned final week in an ABC News interview that will probably be “tough” for the U.S. to meet a May 1 deadline to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But he mentioned that if the deadline, which is laid out in an settlement between former President Donald Trump’s administration and the Taliban, is prolonged, it wouldn’t be by a “lot longer.”

In response, the Taliban on Friday warned of penalties if the U.S. doesn’t meet the deadline. Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban negotiation workforce, informed reporters that if U.S. troops keep past May 1, “it will be a kind of violation of the agreement. That violation would not be from our side. . . Their violation will have a reaction.”

Mr. Austin was anticipated to meet with Mr. Ghani in addition to the newly appointed Army Chief of Staff Gen. Yasin Zia, who was appointed performing defense minister this week. Washington is reviewing the settlement the Trump administration signed with the Taliban final 12 months .

In a sharply worded letter to Mr. Ghani earlier this month U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned its pressing to make peace in Afghanistan saying all choices stay on the desk. He additionally warned that it’s doubtless the Taliban would make swift territorial beneficial properties if U.S. and NATO troops withdrew. The United States spends $4 billion a 12 months to maintain Afghanistan’s National Security Forces .

The Taliban warned America towards defying the May 1 deadline at a press convention in Moscow, the day after assembly with senior Afghan authorities negotiators and worldwide observers to strive to jumpstart a stalled peace course of to finish Afghanistan’s many years of battle.

Washington has additionally given each the Taliban and the Afghan authorities an eight-page peace proposal which either side are reviewing. It requires an interim so-called “peace government” which might shepherd Afghanistan towards constitutional reform and elections.

Mr. Ghani has resisted an interim administration inflicting his critics to accuse him of clinging to energy. He says elections alone can be acceptable to deliver a change of presidency.

Both the U.S. and Kabul have referred to as for a discount in violence main to a stop fireplace. Taliban says a ceasefire can be a part of the peace negotiations nevertheless the rebel motion haven’t attacked U.S. or NATO troops, since signing the settlement..

However U.S. army commanders and NATO leaders have argued that the Taliban has not lived up to its a part of the peace settlement, which features a discount in violence and a separation from al-Qaida and different terror teams.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg mentioned final month that the alliance “will only leave when the time is right” and when situations have been met.

“The main issue is that Taliban has to reduce violence, Taliban has to negotiate in good faith and Taliban has to stop supporting international terrorist groups like Al Qaeda,” Mr. Stoltenberg mentioned.

Mr. Austin has mentioned little on the report concerning the ongoing stalemate. After a digital assembly of NATO defense ministers, Mr. Austin informed reporters that “our presence in Afghanistan is conditions based, and Taliban has to meet their commitments.”

Mr. Austin’s cease in Afghanistan marks his first return to a U.S. warzone in the Middle East since taking the Pentagon submit. But he spent a substantial amount of time in the area throughout his service as an Army commander. Mr. Austin, a retired four-star normal, served in Afghanistan as commander of the tenth Mountain Division. And from 2013-2016 he was the top of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Afghanistan go to comes on the finish of Mr. Austin’s his first abroad trip as secretary. After a cease in Hawaii, he went to Japan and South Korea, the place he and Secretary of State Antony Blinkin met with their defense and international ministers.

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