US urges Taliban role as Afghan pullout nears

Afghan security official guarding a checkpoint as part of an operation against suspected militants in Sherzad district, Nangarhar province, yesterday. – EPA pic, March 9, 2021.

PRESIDENT Joe Biden is testing whether he can bring sweeping changes in Afghanistan, including a potential government involving the Taliban, in a high-risk strategy as he weighs whether to honour a May deadline to end the United States’ longest war.

In a letter leaked to Afghan media over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged Afghan leaders to consider a “new, inclusive government” and proposed that talks take place within weeks in Turkey to seal a peace deal with the Taliban.

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