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State Department says preparations underway for Afghan conference in Istanbul


The U.S. State Department on Thursday said preparations were underway for a conference in Turkey to help Afghan negotiators make progress in their talks.

President Joe Biden is deciding whether to meet a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of the last 3,500 American troops in Afghanistan that was set in a February 2020 accord struck with the Taliban under former President Donald Trump.

Biden’s administration has sought to build international pressure on the Taliban and U.S.-backed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government to reach a peace agreement and a ceasefire before the deadline.