17:37 GMT10 July 2020
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    According to the top US general in Afghanistan, peace talks with the Taliban could go either way and NATO troops must be ready for “any outcome.”

    General Scott Miller, commander of US forces in Afghanistan and commander of the NATO non-combat Resolution Support (RS) mission in Afghanistan, told NATO troops to be ready for any outcome in peace talks between Washington and the Taliban.

    Speaking before troops at RS headquarters in Kabul on January 1, Miller warned of preparing for both "positive processes or negative consequences," according to Reuters.

    "Peace talks [are] out there, regional players pressing for peace, the Taliban talking about peace, the Afghan government is talking about peace," he said.

    "Are [the RS] able to adapt? Are we able to adjust? Are we able to be in the right place to support positive processes and negative consequences, that's what I ask you guys to think about in 2019," he added.

    ​Miller provided no comment regarding a US withdrawal from the country and an end to the longest war that America has ever promoted on foreign soil, however.

    According to earlier reports citing an anonymous source in the Pentagon, US President Donald Trump mulled withdrawing some 7,000-14,000 troops from Afghanistan, just after ordering a complete troop withdrawal from Syria. Those rumors were later refuted by White House spokesman Garret Marquis, who said that the president has not issued a withdrawal order to end the 16-year Afghanistan war, although the possibility of such a future action was not denied.

    The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as a part of its global War on Terror following the 9/11 attacks, aiming to topple the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

    Almost seventeen years later, US representatives have begun negotiations with Taliban representatives.

    "Officials from the warring sides have met at least three times to discuss the withdrawal of international forces and a ceasefire in 2019. However, fighting has not subsided even as diplomatic efforts intensify," according to Reuters.

    In their 2018 annual statement, the Taliban claimed the victory, saying that they had forced the US to invite them to the negotiating table.

    "The Mujahideen defended valiantly […] the invaders were forced to review their war strategy," the group said in a statement.

    As negotiations over the end of the war and the future of the mountainous country gather momentum, the Taliban ramped up efforts to reassure Afghan citizens that they have nothing to fear after the foreign forces leave.

    Considering the Taliban's strict views on Islam, however, many believe that there is a justified fear of a new repressive religious fundamentalist regime, similar to that of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Reuters reported.


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