Afghan government 'concerned' about US-Taliban peace deal draft

The deal is exclusively between the US and the Taliban, but the Afghan government want further clarification to avoid negative consequences

A member of the Afghan security force stands in front of a poster of Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani in Kabul, Afghanistan September 2, 2019.REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail
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The Afghan government has said it is concerned about the draft peace agreement reached between negotiators from the United States and the Taliban negotiators and wants further clarification.

President Ashraf Ghani's main spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said on Twitter on Wednesday that the government would like to "completely analyse" the dangers and negative consequences of the deal so they can avoid “unpleasant consequences".

The deal, which would see 5,400 US troops withdrawn and five bases closed in exchange for guarantees from the Taliban that Afghanistan would not be used as a base for militant attacks on the US and its allies, was presented to Mr Ghani this week by US envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad.

It is exclusively between the US and the Taliban. However, intra-Afghan talks could be held in Norway to reach a broader political settlement between the Taliban and the US-backed Afghan government to end the violence.

Previously, the Taliban have said they were willing to meet government officials purely in a personal capacity and not as representatives of the state.

The Taliban have been stepping up attacks in the capital Kabul and provincial centres across the country, the agreement has faced scepticism from several sides, including a number of former U.S. officials and politicians.

In recent days, large groups of insurgent fighters have attacked the northern cities of Kunduz and Pul-e Khumri. The Taliban also claimed responsibility for a large tractor-bomb attack on a heavily protected compound used by foreign organisations in Green Village, Kabul, on Monday night.

The blast occurred near a large compound that houses aid agencies and international organisations, killing at least 16 people and injuring 119 more.

The compound had already been attacked once this year, with a lorry explosion killing dozens, including two foreign nationals, in January.