With #US. and #Taliban in Talks, #Afghans Fear They Could End Up Trampled

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أخر تحديث : mardi 29 janvier 2019 - 7:24
With #US. and #Taliban in Talks, #Afghans Fear They Could End Up Trampled

KABUL, Afghanistan — A giant H has been painted on the broad boulevard in front of the American Embassy in Kabul, creating a new helipad that recently, embassy officials say, has been used only by Zalmay Khalilzad, the special United States diplomat who has been talking with the Taliban

President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan usually uses the roads, moving in armored convoys that snarl traffic in the gridlock-weary capital

The pecking order is clear. As American policy in Afghanistan seems bent more than ever on making a deal with Taliban insurgents to withdraw American troops from the country after nearly two decades of war, Mr. Khalilzad’s diplomacy is taking priority

The talks between Mr. Khalilzad and the Taliban, while full of caveats, have raised some parallels to Henry A. Kissinger’s talks with North Vietnamese leaders, which presaged the American pullout from South Vietnam in 1973 and the collapse of South Vietnam two years later

Mr. Khalilzad’s diplomacy has left many others in Afghanistan scrambling and unnerved, wondering if their interests have been sidelined in his talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, 1,200 miles away

Inside Mr. Ghani’s palace, only a few blocks from the American Embassy and the American and NATO military headquarters, officials are alarmed by reports that Mr. Khalilzad might have discussed an interim government with the Taliban, which he assured them he had not

That did little to allay fears in Mr. Ghani’s government — long protected and supported by the United States — that the Americans could well be headed for a separate deal with the Taliban if that is what it takes to get their troops out

All traffic in front of the embassy was stopped as Mr. Khalilzad, whose title is special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, flew into his personal helipad Sunday night from Kabul’s international airport, a two-mile helicopter ride away, after six days of talks with the Taliban in Doha. He immediately briefed Mr. Ghani

The next morning United States Ambassador John Bass and the American military commander, Gen. Austin S. Miller, met with Mr. Ghani. Then Monday afternoon, Mr. Ghani, grim-faced, went on television to address his country and remind everyone on his insistence that peace talks must eventually be between Afghans

By nytimes.com
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