Tag Archives: Withdrawal

FACTBOX-Some in Hong Kong see bill's withdrawal too little, too late

FACTBOX-Some in Hong Kong see bill's withdrawal too little, too lateHong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday announced the withdrawal of an extradition bill that triggered months of unrest and has thrown the Chinese-controlled city into its worst crisis in decades, a source with knowledge of the matter said. The bill would have allowed extraditions from the former British colony to mainland China, where courts are controlled by the Communist Party. The protests against it began in March but gained momentum in June and have since evolved into a push for five demands, including the bill’s withdrawal.



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US to start Afghan withdrawal with 5,000 troops out in 20 weeks

US to start Afghan withdrawal with 5,000 troops out in 20 weeksAmerica has agreed in principle to withdraw 5,000 troops from five military bases in 20 weeks, in a deal with the Taliban to kick start talks with the Afghan government. The accord which could be announced as early as Wednesday would see US troops begin to pull back from their longest ever conflict, in return for a reduction in Taliban attacks and the start of formal negotiations with Ashraf Ghani's government. A large blast hit Kabul on Monday evening, close to a heavily fortified compound housing international organisations.The Green Village compound has been struck by several suicide car combs in the past. There was no immediate report of casualties. The deal brokered over nine rounds of talks in Doha has yet to be signed off by Donald Trump and Mr Ghani was last night consulting with officials after being shown the latest draft of the prospective agreement. Nato allies including Britain will also be briefed on the deal before any announcement. Yet Western officials familiar the talks said final go ahead could be given as early as Wednesday or Thursday. “Yes, we have reached an agreement in principle,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the top US negotiator, told told Tolo news. “Of course, it is not final until the US president agrees on it. So, at the moment, we are at that stage.” Sources briefed on talks stressed the US troop withdrawal would be “conditions-based”, with an insistence by Washington that the Taliban violence reduced significantly and almost immediately. The Taliban have so far refused a complete ceasefire. The draft accord has been brokered over nine rounds of talks in Doha, Qatar Credit: AFP After the first tranche of 5,000 of America's 14,000-odd troops had left, the rest would gradually leave the country over 15 months or more. If the Taliban failed to meet the conditions then America would “stop the clock” on the withdrawal however. Other details of the draft agreement remained closely guarded, including details of guarantees to be given by the Taliban that Afghanistan would not again become a base for transnational terrorist such as al-Qaeda. Sources said the most significant part of the agreement would be the start of talks between Afghan political leaders and the Taliban. Mr Ghani's government has so far been shut out of talks with the Taliban declaring it is only an American puppet. The country risks slipping back into civil war unless the sides can agree a wider political settlement on how to run Afghanistan after America has left. The sides could meet in Oslo as early as later this month and a wider ceasefire is likely to be high on the Afghan government agenda. While there is widespread desire among Afghans for an end to the bloodshed killing thousands of security forces and civilians a year. But there is also fear the Taliban want to reimpose their harsh Islamic emirate of the 1990s, rolling back civil and women's rights Counter terrorism officials in Washington are also worried the Taliban will be unable or unwilling to prevent terrorist groups setting up bases in Afghanistan, just as al-Qaeda did before the 9/11 attacks. It is also unclear whether voting in the impending presidential election will continue if a deal is signed. Polling at the end of September is predicted to follow previous Afghan elections in being riddled with fraud and bitterly disputed. Mr Ghani, seen as the leading candidate, is adamant elections must continue, but American diplomats are understood to be concerned a flawed and contested poll will only detract from talks.



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Taliban say near agreement on U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

Taliban say near agreement on U.S. withdrawal from AfghanistanThe Taliban said on Wednesday they were close to an agreement with U.S. officials on a deal that would see U.S. forces withdraw from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban promise the country would not become a haven for international militants. Negotiations over how to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan have been held in Qatar’s capital, Doha, since late last year. “We hope to have good news soon for our Muslim, independence seeking nation,” said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha.



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Taliban say differences resolved on US troop withdrawal

Taliban say differences resolved on US troop withdrawalThe United States and the Taliban have resolved differences in peace talks over the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and guarantees from the insurgents that they will cut ties with other extremist groups, a Taliban official said Tuesday. The U.S. side did not immediately provide details about the latest round of talks held in Qatar, where the Taliban maintain a political office.



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Irish PM tells Johnson that withdrawal agreement cannot be re-opened

Irish PM tells Johnson that withdrawal agreement cannot be re-openedIrish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Tuesday that the Brexit withdrawal agreement could not be re-opened, and that “satisfactory” alternative arrangements have yet to be identified. “Alternative arrangements could replace the backstop in the future, but thus far satisfactory options have yet to be identified and demonstrated,” Varadkar told Johnson in a phone call, the Irish government’s press office said.



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U.S. envoy on Syria tells allies troop withdrawal won't be abrupt

U.S. envoy on Syria tells allies troop withdrawal won't be abruptThe United States will not make an abrupt and rapid withdrawal of its troops from Syria and will consult closely with its allies on the issue, its special envoy on Syria said on Sunday. “We’ve been telling them (allies) continuously this is not going to be an abrupt, rapid withdrawal but a step-by-step withdrawal,” James Franklin Jeffrey told the Munich Security Conference, addressing concerns from allies over the U.S. decision to pullout 2,000 troops.



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Withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria likely to start in 'weeks': U.S. general

Withdrawal of U.S. forces in Syria likely to start in 'weeks': U.S. generalU.S. Army General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, cautioned that the exact timing would depend on the situation in Syria, where U.S.-backed fighters have launched a final assault against Islamic State enclaves near the Iraqi border. The U.S. military has already started withdrawing equipment from Syria. Asked whether the withdrawal of America’s more than 2,000 troops would begin in days or weeks, Votel said: “Probably weeks.



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Senate Delivers Reproach to Trump on Syria Withdrawal

Senate Delivers Reproach to Trump on Syria WithdrawalThe Senate sent a clear disapproving message to President Trump on Thursday, advancing a measure warning against a “precipitous withdrawal” of U.S. troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voted 68 to 23 to end debate on Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s amendment to a larger Middle East policy bill.



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As Trump's timeline for Syria withdrawal slips, U.S. allies are nervous, angry, confused

As Trump's timeline for Syria withdrawal slips, U.S. allies are nervous, angry, confusedTrump's advisers are trying to calm jittery U.S. allies amid Trump's Syria withdrawal announcement. But experts say they have lost credibility.



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U.S. withdrawal from Syria does not jeopardize efforts to counter Iran, Pompeo says

U.S. withdrawal from Syria does not jeopardize efforts to counter Iran, Pompeo saysThe U.S. decision to withdraw troops from Syria will not jeopardize Washington’s efforts to counter threats in the region, which come from Iran and Islamic State, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday. Pompeo was in Jordan, making his first visit to the Middle East since President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement that he will pull the 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, which caused alarm among U.S. allies in the region and prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.



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