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Under the Peace Plan, the US military campaign would leave Afghanistan within five years


WASHINGTON – American troops will retreat from Afghanistan over the next three to five years as part of a new Pentagon Plan, which will be offered in peace talks, leading to a government in Kabul that shares power with the Taliban.

At the same time, other international forces in Afghanistan would leave the country after having been successful in stabilizing the country since 2001. The plan is discussed with European Allies and partly elaborated on by President Trump, who has long expressed skepticism about the persistent American role of foreign wars.

The plan calls for the 14 000 US troops in Afghanistan to be cut off in the coming months. The 8,600 European, Australian and New Zealand teams would form Afghan military training, which is the focal point of the NATO mission for more than a decade and largely directs US operations to strikes against terrorism.

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The New York Times shared the various elements of the plan with more than half a dozen current and former US and European officials. He wants to help negotiate with the Taliban led by Zalmay Khalilzad, the American Special Envoy.

So far, the plan has been widely accepted at the headquarters of Washington and NATO in Brussels. But US officials warn that Mr. Trump can set up a new plan at any time.

And officials said that even if the peace talks were interrupted, the United States would continue its transition to counter-terrorism missions to train African forces.

Until the final withdrawal, thousands of US armies continued the strike against Al Qaeda and the Islamic state, including partner attacks with Afghan commanders. Counter-terrorism missions and military headcount are also critical of C.I.A. Afghanistan.

Mr Koné Faulkner, a Pentagon spokesman, said there was no decision as peace talks continued. The Ministry of Defense "takes into account all the possibilities of force and disposition," Colonel Faulkner said.

However, the European Allies said they had been consulted on the proposal – this contradicts Mr Trump's December surprise to withdraw US forces from Syria.

"Europeans are perfectly capable of conducting a training mission," James Stavridis, a retired American admiral and former highest NATO commander, now a private equity company of the Carlyle Group. "Intelligent division of labor is to focus the efforts of the United States on the mission of special forces, and Europeans learn the training mission."

Mr Stavridis said that the two missions would be coordinated, including US logistical support and the military background of European troops.

On Monday, US diplomats met the Taliban at the highest level of talks in Qatar, including Austin S. Miller, commander of the international mission in Afghanistan. The negotiations stopped on Wednesday and will continue on Saturday.

The two sides endeavored to endorse the framework agreement, which was in principle adopted last month, with a view to the total withdrawal of foreign troops and the guarantees of the Taliban, to prevent terrorist groups attacking the United States to use Afghanistan as a safe haven.

The Afghan Government is not part of the talks, because the Taliban did not speak to President Ashraf Ghani or their delegates.

The outlook for the US military withdrawal from all over the world has caused fear that this may lead to the fall of the western supported government in Kabul and return to the Taliban's extreme rule. Before the end of 2001, the Taliban were accused of human rights abuses, forbidding girls to go to school and imposing strict penalties on heretics.

US officials said that an agreement on the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan should include a ceasefire agreement and the involvement of government leaders in the negotiations.

In his speech in Kabul on Thursday, Mr Ghani warned the Afghan security forces to be ready for possible Taliban attacks before the peace agreement.

“Peace is not easy; he needs courage and bilateral respect, "Mr. Ghani said.

European officials have said earlier that they will pull forces from Afghanistan quickly if the US military is too small to provide logistical support. According to US officials, the number of troops, even if they were about 7,000, would continue to be the European Training Mission described in the Pentagon's plan.

In some respects, focusing on counter-terrorism missions in Afghanistan is approval of Vice-President Biden's plan, as the Obama government discussed its own war strategy in 2009. Finally, Mr Biden's proposal was rejected by a counter-attack plan calling for local forces and acceleration of US troops, as stated by General Stanley A. McChrystal, who at that time was the number one commander of Afghanistan.

The Taliban negotiators are deeply opposed to the US counter-terrorism troops staying in Afghanistan for five years, and officials were unsure whether the rank and file of the warriors would accept the shorter duration.

Reducing the training mission may leave the protracted Afghan soldiers not only at risk of attack, but at the risk of breaking. In January, Mr. Ghani announced that more than 45,000 Afghan troops had died since 2014; Pentagon officials called the number of accidents unsustainable.

Despite spending more than a billion dollars on the Afghan army for more than a decade, Pentagon control shows that new efforts to modernize the new Afghan air force will probably not be self-sufficient until the mid-2030s.

Speaking to the legislators in December, Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., commander of the Middle East American troops, said that Afghan forces could not sustain themselves without US and NATO support.

"I know it would be difficult for them to survive today without the help of our coalition partners," he said.

According to current and former defense ministry officials, limiting US assistance to the Afghan army would require a delicate balance to provide sufficient financial support to NATO's training mission, the so-called Resolute Support, to ensure that Western allies continue to invest without to sacrifice counter-terrorism operations.

European Allies mention General Miller to describe the level of reduced troops as "more for less".

A former defense ministry official who knows the talks can provide more US support for the training mission outside Afghanistan and flew if necessary. European countries relied heavily on American bases, stocks and other logistics during the war.

A German official who talked about the conditions of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the conversations stressed how much the Berlin 1300 teams depend on medical evacuation planes and the US air traffic.

British forces can participate in counter-terrorism operations, but these missions will be almost entirely under the command of the US.

Laurel Miller, a senior state ministry official in the Obama and Trump administration, worked in Afghan and Pakistani politics, saying it would be risky to change the military mission in Afghanistan without a peaceful plan.

"The US government has long discussed the idea of ​​a small CT mission," he said. But he said, "If you stop supporting Afghan forces in their main struggle, you can't work very well on your tighter priorities, otherwise you will fall apart from Afghanistan."

It is also possible that the Afghan Government's international funding support can reach the Taliban on the basis of a power-sharing agreement. However, US and European officials have been critical of continuing to finance Afghan security forces.

After the peace agreements or troops have been withdrawn, the best results of US-backed governments are the best.

The American trained South Vietnam two years after the United States retreated from the Vietnam War in 1973, fell into communist forces, most of the Iraqi army collapsed in 2014 against the Islamic state, just three years ago by US military and instructors. international forces must return to Iraq.

Some officials believe that continued funding for the Afghan army is more important than the presence of lasting international troops for the government of Afghanistan.

"As long as we continue to support the Afghan security forces in the area, I believe that the security forces would be very capable of keeping order in the country, especially in a scenario where the Taliban came from the cold," Stavridis said.

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