US tests push for sweeping change in Afghanistan as pullout nears

WASHINGTON (HRNW) – President Joe Biden is testing whether he can bring sweeping changes in Afghanistan, including a potential government involving the Taliban, in a high-risk strategy as he weighs whether to honor a May deadline to end America s longest war.

In a letter leaked to Afghan media over the weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken encouraged Afghan leaders to consider a “new, inclusive government” and proposed that talks take place within weeks in Turkey to seal a peace deal with the Taliban.

The behind-the-scenes but dramatic diplomacy comes as Biden completes a review on one of his first major foreign policy questions — whether to abide by an agreement with the Islamist insurgents negotiated by former president Donald Trump to pull the final US troops out by May.

“I think the objective here seems to be, let s see if there s some other option that we have other than simply leaving on May 1 or overstaying. Is there some short-cut to a peace process?” said Laurel Miller, the former US envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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