Trump administration asked Congress to pay for Taliban travel expenses and food

Trump administration asked Congress to pay for Taliban travel expenses and food

Trump administration asked Congress to pay for Taliban travel expenses and food

Donald Trump‘s administration asked Congress to reimburse the Taliban for travel expenses, lodgings and food at peace talks aimed at bringing over 17 years of war in Afghanistan to an end.

The funds would have been used “in cases where lodging and transportation would be required to facilitate the participation of all required parties to negotiate a local peace deal,” the Pentagon said.

The Pentagon was seeking “to lay the groundwork in anticipation of opportunities to facilitate talks with the Afghan government to find a way to end the war”, said Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich.

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Until now no funds had been used, she added, and the Pentagon did not provide further details of possible funding.

However, a committee denied the request because it would have amounted to support for terrorists, the BBC reported, citing Kevin Spicer, spokesman for representative Peter Visclosky of Indiana.

Earlier this week a bill passed by the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Defence barred the US government from using money to pay for the Taliban’s expenses – unless the talks included members of the Afghan government or did not restrict the participation of women.

A spokesman for an independent government spending watchdog told Rollcall the request was like “life imitating The Onion,” a US satirical newspaper.

Fighting between the Taliban and US-backed Afghan government has intensified since a ceasefire over the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival last year.

Talks between Washington and the militant group have continued, though Afghan government officials have been sidelined.

US and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their sixth round of peace talks on Thursday with “some progress” made on a draft agreement for when foreign troops might withdraw from Afghanistan.

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The Afghan government has expressed frustration about not being included in talks with the Taliban and the limited information Kabul is being provided by Washington.

“The government does not feel that they have been briefed enough,” Roya Rahmani, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, told reporters in Washington this week.

“If a peace is to be negotiated and to be durable, it cannot keep on going on without the presence of Afghan people.”

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