Saturday, September 25, 2021

Taliban Committed On Afghan Peace Deal; Will Cut All Links With Terror Groups – Khalilzad

The Taliban has determined on fulfilling its commitments under the Afghan Peace Deal to cut ties with terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, but Washington would like to see more progress, Zalmay Khalilzad, Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation said at a hearing on Tuesday.

“The agreement specifies that the Taliban will not host, will not allow training, will not allow fundraising, will not allow recruitment of terrorists, including Al Qaeda, that will threaten the security of the United States and our allies,” Khalilzad said. “They have made substantial progress in delivering on those commitments but we would like to see more.”

The US invaded Afghanistan after the ruling Taliban government in 2001 refused to give up Al Qaeda operatives it had been hosting in the country and where they had purportedly planned the September 11 attacks.

The United States and the Taliban signed a peace agreement last February. Among other things, the deal stipulated the withdrawal of foreign armed forces from Afghanistan in exchange for the Taliban abating violence and guaranteeing that the country will not turn into a safe haven for terrorists.

Taliban attacks in Afghanistan have increased as US and NATO forces begin their exit from Afghanistan. The Pentagon has continued to claim that small, harassing attacks by the Taliban in Afghanistan have not had a significant impact on the withdrawal of US forces.

Biden administration officials have also said there have been no attacks against US forces during the pullout process.

The Taliban have accused the United States of violating the 2020 Doha agreement, according to which the US was set to withdraw its forces by May 1, and threatened to abandon inter-Afghan peace talks until all foreign troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan.

The movement had also issued a warning that the non-aggression clause against US forces will become null starting on May 1.

Istanbul Meeting

“We welcome the United Nations, Turkey’s and Qatar’s willingness to co-convene high-level negotiations in Istanbul,” Khalilzad said to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “The parties need to agree to a date as soon as possible and we expect them to come prepared with concrete proposals,” Zalmay Khalilzad said.

Istanbul was scheduled to host a conference with the participation of the Afghan government and the Taliban from April 24-May 4 at the initiative of the US.

The conference was postponed days before the scheduled kickoff due to the Taliban’s refusal to attend. The movement has said that it is reluctant to participate in any conference until all foreign troops are withdrawn.

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