Taliban, Washington at odds over Afghanistan troop pullout

End The Occupation

"We do not know whether we will achieve an agreement - but we do know that after two decades of war, the hour has come to at least try for peace", Trump said.

The group see the Afghan government as a puppet of the US.

In December, a US official said Trump was planning to withdraw more than 5,000 USA troops in Afghanistan, triggering worries about whether a smaller force would be able to fulfill missions under way and stabilize the country.

"The Kabul government constitution is invalid".

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who headed the Taliban delegation, made a rare appearance in front of worldwide media besides a smiling Karzai.

"They arrived there late, fought back and managed to get the checkpoint under control of the check point, " he added.

Taliban's Hanafi said Washington and the Taliban had also agreed that all foreign troops would eventually leave, and that Afghanistan would never be used as a base for attacks on the United States.

"It is Russian Federation against the USA all over again, but the other way around", Fakur said, in reference to Washington's support former Mujahidin fighters against the former Soviet Union-backed government in the 1990s. "All causes for war should first be removed".

The Taliban's statement in Moscow is clearly meant to dispel the memories of women being beaten and murdered under its brutal theocratic rule, as well as forced into burqas and barred from leaving their homes without a male relative as escort.

But images of Karzai and other powerful leaders attending prayer lead by a Taliban figure and dining with the militants invoked anger in Afghanistan. Some 8,000 troops from 38 other countries also participate in Resolute Support.

Stanekzai called for some preliminary steps that he said are essential for peace and are parts of confidence building measures.

Stanikzai further demanded the removal of Western sanctions and travel bans on Taliban members, prisoner releases, an end to "propaganda" against the Taliban and clearance to open an official office.

He called for the release of Taliban detainees and claimed that U.S. and its protectorate regime have detained tens of thousands of Afghans and Taliban in their secret and open prisons.

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He promised not to interfere in other countries' affairs in the case of a peace deal, an end to "occupation" and to curb poppy cultivation and deliver services.

In addition to departure of all foreign troops, the Taliban are demanding the end of U.S. bombing of civilians, a constitution that would respect the interests of all the people of Afghanistan, and guarantees for human rights and the rights of women.

The militants have indicated they would provide a safe environment for women's work and education under an "Islamic system" they have proposed for Afghanistan's future.

At least 36 members of the Afghan security forces and 22 Taliban fighters have been killed in fresh clashes in the country's north, officials and local media confirmed Tuesday.

Several delegates urged the Taliban to start talks with the government and also declare ceasefire in view of the peace talks in Qatar. It's a change I think.

Frozen out for a second time, a furious Ghani vowed he would not be an idle spectator as his country's future was debated overseas.

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, among the Afghan opposition politicians attending the talks, said the principle issue under discussion was that Afghanistan should be free of foreign forces. Instead a new one should be drawn up, adhering to "Muslim principles" and a sense of national achievements, he said.

"Rest assured that no one can push us aside", he said.

"The process here in Russian Federation will further strengthen the negotiation of Khalilzad, and it's much more effective and fruitful to have it in this region", said former Balkh province governor Atta Mohammad Noor, who is challenging Ghani in elections planned for July.

A 10-man Taliban delegation said it hoped to use the talks for "opening channels to reaching an understanding with non-government Afghan political groups".

"But now we're hearing women could be prime minister or a minister".

No representatives from the Kabul government were invited to Moscow but some of Ghani's chief rivals - including Karzai as well as opponents in an election slated for July - were in attendance.

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