US Troop Withdrawal Will Help Further Afghan Peace: Qureshi

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But the Taliban said the withdrawal could in fact assist peace efforts by helping to build trust.

The already worsening security situation in Afghanistan is likely to be exacerbated by a US troop reduction, according to analysts.

The U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formally concluded their combat mission in 2014, but American and allied troops remain, conducting strikes on the Islamic State group and the Taliban and working to train and build the Afghan military.

The United States would still have 7,000 troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led mission and a separate USA counterterrorism mission, if the withdrawal order reported by various US media outlets, citing officials, is carried out.

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"I believe the Taliban will see this as a reason to stall, and therefore it disincentivizes the Taliban to actually talk to the Afghan government, which it has refused to do", said Bill Roggio an Afghanistan analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Trump's decision could scuttle USA efforts to negotiate an end to the conflict, analysts warn. Three U.S. presidents have pledged to bring peace to Afghanistan, either by adding or withdrawing troops, by engaging the Taliban or shunning them, and by struggling to combat widespread corruption in the government.

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"The Taliban involvement in political process means greater say for Pakistan in Afghan affairs". Observers, however, have warned that the United States withdrawal could have a "devastating" impact on stability in Kabul and any such move would offer Taliban militants a psychological edge in the conflict and propaganda victory.

"The US reviewed its (Afghanistan) policy and then talks were held in Abu Dhabi, then there was progress in the talks and things are moving ahead", Qureshi told reporters in the central city of Multan.

Some analysts say the USA troop withdrawal could also have a silver lining and could send a useful message to all sides.

U.S. President Donald Trump considers the war in Afghanistan a lost cause and has long pushed to pull the troops out. The Kabul government was not briefed on the plans.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

There are at least 14,000 forces in Afghanistan who are engaged in counterterror as well as train and advise mission for their Afghan counterparts. "Diplomacy gets harder when the White House fails to coordinate with other branches of government and close US allies".

A Taliban official said the announcement is a positive step which could "lead to trust building that the U.S. wants a political solution".

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