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Top US military officer says Taliban ‘not losing’ in Afghanistan

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaks briefly during a brief at U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany, June 29, 2017. Gen. Dunford visited USAFRICOM and U.S. European Command after spending several days in Afghanistan meeting U.S., Coalition, and Afghan leaders. (DoD Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. James K. McCann)
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This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Taliban “are not losing” and there is no “military solution” to ending the war in Afghanistan.

Dunford’s remarks came amid U.S. and Afghan attempts to launch peace talks with the Taliban, which controls more territory than it has at any time since the U.S.-led invasion of the South-Asian country in 2001.

“They are not losing right now, I think that is fair to say,” Dunford said of the Taliban during a discussion at a security forum in Halifax, Canada on November 17.

Dunford, the top U.S. military officer, said the United States and its NATO allies were working to leverage military, political, and economic pressure to convince the Taliban to negotiate an end to the war.

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“We do believe the Taliban know that at some point they do have to reconcile,” he said. “The key to success is to combine all that pressure to incentivize the Taliban” to negotiate.

After more than 17 years of war, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has stepped up efforts to settle the conflict peacefully.

U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was appointed to start a peace process with the Taliban. He met with Ghani on November 10 after meeting with a Taliban delegation in Doha in October.

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