General Kenneth F. McKenzie said the US and NATO’s withdrawal decision depends on the situation and negotiated settlements between the Taliban and the Afghan government are highly supported.

He said currently the US finds level of the violence in Afghanistan to an extreme level.

While speaking at a virtual Beirut Institute Summit McKenzie said “I place a large measure of the blame on the Taliban who have continued to mount offensive operations and targeted killings of Afghan officials but the excessive violence has led the government to launch their own defensive operations to protect themselves – the violence while too high on both sides,”.

He indicated that there is no sign that Taliban cut ties with Al-Qaeda.

“In my clear judgment rests largely on the Taliban; we also continue to … look for signs of a Taliban break with al-Qaeda and I have not at this point seen any definitive signs that would lead to believe they’re prepared to or able to honor their obligations,” McKenzie added.

This comes as Pakistani Foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with Mohammad Omar Daudzai, the Afghan President’s special representative on Thursday.

Qureshi stressed his concerns over the increased level of violence in Afghanistan and added that Pakistan seeks a political solution to the Afghan war.

He added that peace talks are a shared responsibility and Pakistan will continue playing its conciliatory role.


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