Watchdog shows Afghan defence forces declining as peace talks edge forward – World


KABUL (Reuters) – The strength of the embattled Afghan defence forces has declined to its lowest level in four years, a U.S. watchdog said on Thursday, as talks between Washington and the Taliban continue over the possible withdrawal of foreign troops.

The negotiations, due to resume in Qatar on Feb. 25, are centred on a possible ceasefire and the withdrawal of thousands of U.S.-led NATO forces. Many obstacles remain before that would be possible but an eventual pullout would place the Afghan defence forces under even more pressure.

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