Top US General cautiously optimistic about Afghan peace push



The top U.S. general said on Friday he was cautiously optimistic about efforts to reach a negotiated end to the nearly 18-year-old war in Afghanistan, in remarks that followed talks in Kabul with Afghanistan’s president and the top U.S. negotiator.
“We’re all cautiously optimistic, in the sense that Ambassador Khalilzad is now doing something we haven’t seen in the entire time that we’ve been deployed to Afghanistan,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Dunford was referring to Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. envoy negotiating with Taliban insurgents, who he said was engaged in a “fairly robust dialogue now between the Taliban.”
Washington is seeking to negotiate a deal under which foreign forces would pull out of Afghanistan in return for security guarantees by the Taliban, including a pledge that the country will not become a safe haven for terror groups.
Dunford said there were several factors coming together that gave reason to believe that there might be a window of opportunity now for inter-Afghan dialogue and reconciliation.—Reuters