Pentagon asks Congress to authorize funds to transport, lodge Taliban members seeking ceasefire

Washington, May 17: The Pentagon has said on Thursday it had asked the Congress for the authority to assist fund lodging and transportation for the Taliban members interested in negotiating a local ceasefire with the government of Afghanistan, as the United States seeks an end to the 17-year-long war.

According to Reuters news reports, commander Rebecca Rebarich, the Pentagon spokesperson, said, “In cases where lodging and transportation would be required to facilitate the participation of all required parties to negotiate a local peace deal, the funds could be used for the purpose.”

She further stated 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”. Rebecca added no funds have been yet used and the Pentagon also did not offer further information of possible funding.

The US House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Defence has passed legislation this week, blocking the US government from using the funds in order to pay for the expenses of the Taliban insurgents taking part in peace meeting with the US.

However, the bill has not yet get passed by whole House committee and also it was unclear whether the lawmakers would green signalled the Pentagon’s request.

Rebecca stated the defence department wasn’t reimbursing the local insurgents’ outfits taking part in Afghan peace talks.

“The United States also supports local peace initiatives between the Afghan government and insurgent groups looking to cease hostilities against the Afghan Government and coalition forces,” she said.

The US officials 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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