MONITORING (SW) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Saturday that while it was seeking a political agreement with the Taliban, Washington would not accept just any deal after a wave of violence cast a shadow over its talks with the insurgent group.
“The United States’ view is that the best way forward is a political agreement and that (is what) we’re working diligently on right now, that doesn’t mean we’ll take any deal,” Esper said during a press conference in Paris with his French counterpart.
“We will make sure we have a good deal, a good enough deal that guarantees at least the security of our countries going forward and a brighter path ahead for the Afghan people”, he said.
Sediq Sediqqi, spokesperson for the Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, said in a series of tweets today that the Kabul government welcomes the latest remarks made by Pentagon Chief. “ … We echo the need for sustainable peace, end of violence and a meaningful peace that would guarantee the security of Afghanistan and its allies”, he tweeted.
Under the draft accord with the Taliban, thousands of U.S. troops would be withdrawn over the coming months in exchange for guarantees that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the United States and its allies, Reuters reported.
However, according to the agreement, a full peace agreement to end more than 18 years of war would depend on subsequent “intra Afghan” talks. The Taliban have rejected calls for a ceasefire and instead stepped up operations across the country.