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US envoy to NATO accuses Taliban of failing to abide by withdrawal deal

Washington: The United States on Monday accused the Taliban of violating the promises made in the withdrawal agreement it reached with Washington and appealed to it for an immediate halt to the violence in Afghanistan.

According to US Permanent Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison, “We do not think the Taliban is keeping its word under the agreement, the violence is too high and the Afghan people and the Afghan soldiers have paid a heavy price.”

“So, we are really encouraging and asking the Taliban – if they are serious about wanting to have a peaceful Afghanistan- that they will keep their word and stop the violence, [and] have a ceasefire”, he added.

The United States plans to lower troop levels to 2,500 by mid-January, in accordance with the deal it reached with the Taliban in February this year. The US began the year with about 10,000 troops stationed inside the country.

Hutchison said the only hope the country has to end the violence, is to engage in negotiations.

After reaching the agreement with the Taliban, the US reduced troop levels from 10,000 to 8,600 by July, before drawing down to 5,000 by November in the second phase.

Hutchinson spoke ahead of the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs, planned for December 1-2.

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