Los Angeles Times

Trump administration presses for peace deal in Afghanistan by April, but prospects appear dim

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is pressing to open peace talks with insurgents in Afghanistan by April, a timetable driven by the president's mounting impatience with the stalemated 17-year-old war.

The short-term goal, current and former officials say, is a cease-fire agreement to at least temporarily curtail an alarming rise in attacks by Taliban insurgents that have caused hundreds of Afghan civilian and military casualties a month.

But prospects for a far-reaching political settlement still appear dim, and President Donald Trump faces the risk of a political backlash if he pulls out and the country again becomes a failed state where terrorists could find refuge, as Osama bin Laden once did.

Without signs of progress in coming months, Trump could face the same dilemma as his predecessors: withdraw all or most of 14,000 U.S. troops and risk a Taliban takeover, or leave

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