Washington: The elimination of foreign fighters in Afghanistan is a prerequisite for the withdrawal of US troops from the country, Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar said.
“The longtime desire of the Afghan people is the following. Number one — a sustainable peace. Number two — the preservation of the Islamic republic. Number three — the withdrawal of all foreign troops, and [number four] the elimination of all foreign fighters in Afghanistan,” Atmar told Sputnik in an interview.
Stressing that these four elements are linked and mutually inclusive, the minister said that “if you are talking about the withdrawal of foreign troops you must also be talking about the withdrawal or elimination of foreign fighters.”
“The Americans said, yes, we will withdraw from Afghanistan but if you ensure that foreign fighters, of which over 10,000 at least are operating in Afghanistan, should be also either eliminated or withdrawn from Afghanistan,” Atmar said.
The minister described the US-brokered peace deal as “complex” and containing multiple items which need to be taken as a package.
Last February, the Taliban and the Afghan government reached a landmark agreement, mediated by the United States, paving the way for peace talks, which began in the Qatari capital of Doha on September 12. The intra-Afghan reconciliation ultimately pursues a withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.