Aussie Taliban hostage 'freed in prisoner swap deal'
Weekes, along with his US colleague Kevin King, was kidnapped from outside the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul in 2016.The hostages — American, Kevin King and Australian university professor Timothy Weeks — were released in southern Zabul province, ending their more than three years in captivity.
America ’ s top general says the chances of U . S .- Taliban negotiations resuming were “higher” than he’ s seen before. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump look on as U . S . Army members carry the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, who died in Afghanistan on
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — America ’ s top general has said he was optimistic U . S .- Taliban negotiations would resume , raising the prospects of a “I’m optimistic , but we’ll see.” In September, President Donald Trump called off the talks that were meant to lead to wider peace negotiations and
America's top general has said he was optimisticwould resume, raising the prospects of a deal to end America's longest war.
Asked whether theincluding an American, had increased the chance of negotiations, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley responded Wednesday that they were "higher than I've seen."
"I think we're in a better place than we've been, doesn't mean we are there yet though" Milley told reporters en route to Afghanistan. "I'm optimistic, but we'll see."
Australian academic was released in the 'Taliban badlands'
Former war journalist Michael Ware says Academic Timothy Weeks and his American colleague were released in the heart of the Taliban's stronghold.“They were released in the Taliban badlands and were certainly held for all these years in God knows what conditions in Pakistan,” Mr Ware told Sky News on Wednesday.
F OR MONTHS America and the Taliban had been haggling over an agreement to end their 18-year war in Afghanistan. As he called off the talks , the president revealed that he had been on the verge of hosting Taliban negotiators at Camp David, his rural retreat, in the hope of sealing a deal there.
Taliban sources remained optimistic , even as Western diplomats expressed concern that there would not be a deal from this round of Doha talks . On Saturday afternoon, Sayed Akbar Agha, a former Taliban official who now lives in Kabul but keeps close contacts with insurgent leaders
In comments after a bilateral meeting in, Milley said talks the Taliban were "ongoing," but it was unclear if he meant negotiations had resumed.
When asked Wednesday if peace talks had indeed begun again with the Taliban, Trump said, "No, we're talking to the Taliban, yeah." He offered no further details.
In September,that were meant to lead to wider peace negotiations and to enable the U.S. to withdraw its roughly 13,000 troops from the war-torn country. U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan for 18 years.
Pictures: Trump presidency in photos
Since 2001, when U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban government after it sheltered 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, tens of thousands of civilians and security personnel and more thanhave been killed in Afghanistan. Between Jan. 2009, when began a systematic documentation of civilian casualties, and Sept. 2019, some 34,000 civilians died as a result of the armed conflict.
Trump thanks Qatar's emir over role in Taliban hostages release
Two Western hostages were released after three Taliban prisoners landed in Qatar as part of a prisoner swap deal.The emir and Trump held a telephone call on Friday in which the US president "expressed his sincere thanks" to the emir "for its active role in facilitating the release of the two hostages who were held in Afghanistan", the Qatar News Agency (QNA) said.
Trump reveals Taliban talks in surprise Thanksgiving Afghanistan trip. Trump met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and addressed U . S . troops, telling them that America was “substantially” reducing its military presence in the country. America ' s top general ' optimistic ' U . S .- Taliban talks will resume .
Encyclopedia says the Taliban militia ran from 1994 to 1996 and the government from 1996 to 2001 and the insurgency from 2002 to present and the HQ are in Afganistan 1996 to 2001 and NATO is their opponent.
While the resumption of U.S.-Taliban negotiations remains up in the air, Milley said the chances of the Afghan government and Taliban reaching a negotiated settlement could happen in the "not too distant future."
"There is a broad recognition that the war in Afghanistan ends in some sort of negotiated settlement between the government of Afghanistan and various insurgent elements of the Taliban," he said.
"With a bit of luck we'll have successful negotiations in the near term, not too distant future," he said, adding that the negotiations were "ongoing."
While U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since 2001, war and violence has plagued the country for decades.
Milley said a negotiated settlement between the Afghan government and Taliban was likely in the best interest of all parties and would "bring the war, quote on quote, to an end."
PM thanks Trump for Timothy Weeks' release
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called Donald Trump to thank the US president for his help in securing the release of Timothy Weeks from Taliban custody.
DOHA, Qatar — American negotiators and Taliban officials set to resume negotiations in the Qatari capital on Saturday expressed guarded optimism that they are getting closer to an agreement that could help end 17 years of conflict, America ’ s longest war.
Inviting Taliban leaders onto American soil is an unprecedented move and a significant development in America ' s longest running war just days from the Khalilzad returned to Doha, Qatar, this week to resume talks with the Taliban . Khalilzad had told Afghanistan' s TOLOnews on Monday that the US
He said an American drawdown would be contingent on "conditions" being met but did not specify what those conditions might be.
In the past any reduction in American forces had hinged on progress in peace talks with the Taliban.that the Pentagon was drawing up plans for an abrupt withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in case Trump surprises military leaders by ordering an immediate drawdown , according to three current and former defense officials.
Administration officials have said the president is expected to move forward with what one official described as "a token withdrawal" of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year.
Ending wars like the one in Afghanistan was one of Trump's chief campaign promises in 2016. Trump has made clear to his advisers that he wants to pull all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the 2020 election, NBC News reported in August.
Last month, the U.S. military said that it had quietly reduced the number of troops in Afghanistan by about 2,000. It also said it could continue counter-terrorism operations with around 8,600 troops in the country.
Asked Wednesday if that was the number the military was aiming to leave, Miley said no decisions had been made but that was one of several options.
Mosheh Gains reported from Bagram Air Field. Saphora Smith reported from London.
Freed Taliban hostage 'never lost hope' .
Timothy Weeks has spoken for the first time since being released from captivity in Afghanistan, saying the experience has completely changed him.Freed Taliban hostage Timothy Weeks says he never gave up hope during his "long and tortuous" three years in captivity in Afghanistan.