VP Saleh faults U.S. troop drawdown decision


KABUL: The Frist Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh believes Washington has made a mistake by reducing the number of U.S. troops to 2,500 in Afghanistan, as well as by conceding too much to the Taliban.
“U.S. talks with the Taliban were not a mistake in themselves, but that Mr. Trump’s administration made an error in giving the group a ‘massive concession,” Saleh said while speaking to BBC on Friday.
“The American mission, which started 20 years ago, is not yet accomplished and a complete withdrawal in the troubled world threatens further conflict,” Saleh maintained.
His remarks come as the U.S. military reduced its troops’ number to 2500 in Afghanistan by Friday, a drawdown that meets the stipulations of the US-Taliban peace deal but goes against the country’s Congressional decision.  
“We remain grateful for their assistance. But the fate of my country does not lie with the last U.S. military helicopter,” he added. 
Saleh also criticized the U.S. for not standing up to its promises of violence reduction in Afghanistan, saying the U.S. delegation had sworn that Taliban prisoner release would lead to reduced violence, something that didn’t happen. 
Saleh also cautioned the U.S that it should not be deceived into negotiating with “terrorists.” “I am telling them [U.S.] as a friend and as an ally that trusting the Taliban without putting in a verification mechanism is going to be a fatal mistake.”