The Taliban welcomed news of the U.S. plan to withdraw half its troops in Afghanistan by the summer, as Afghan generals warned it would be a blow to the morale of the country’s beleaguered security forces who come under daily attacks from the insurgent fighters.

www.Mlst.blog

The Taliban welcomed news of the U.S. plan to withdraw half its troops in Afghanistan by the summer, as Afghan generals warned it would be a blow to the morale of the country’s beleaguered security forces who come under daily attacks from the insurgent fighters.

The announcement seems certain to complicate efforts to reach a peace deal, mostly because it gives the Taliban leverage by allowing them to hold off until a total U.S. withdrawal, or step up their demands over a weakened Afghan government.

“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.

Afghanistan’s security forces rely heavily on U.S. airpower against both Taliban and an upstart Islamic State affiliate, and…

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