Pentagon 'wanted to pay for Taliban travel expenses'

The Trump administration wanted to reimburse the Taliban for their expenses attending recent peace talks, according to a congressional aide.

But a Capitol Hill committee denied the request to cover the militants’ costs such as food and lodging, a lawmaker’s spokesman told the BBC.

The bid was rejected because it would have amounted to illegal material support for terrorists, said the aide.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since October 2018, the US government has held six rounds of peace negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar’s capital, Doha, aimed at paving the way for a safe US exit from Afghanistan.

The funding requested by the Pentagon was intended to reimburse the group for costs incurred while participating in the talks, including supplies, food, accommodation and transportation, according to Kevin Spicer, spokesman for Representative Peter Visclosky of Indiana.

Media captionIs peace with the Taliban possible?

“The Defense Department requested fiscal year 2020 funding to support certain reconciliation activities, including logistic support for members of the Taliban and, in March 2019, they sent a notification letter to the Committee on using fiscal year 2019 funds for similar activities,” Mr Spicer said.

On Wednesday, the House Appropriations defence subcommittee, chaired by Mr Visclosky, approved a $690.2bn…

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