Taliban points warning of U.S. plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan

Biden’s new withdrawal timeline will maintain hundreds of American troops in Afghanistan months previous the Could 1 deadline negotiated by the Trump administration final yr. Biden’s plan is a phased drawdown to be accomplished by or earlier than Sept. 11, in accordance with a senior administration official who briefed reporters Tuesday on the situation of anonymity beneath guidelines set by the White Home. Biden is anticipated to announce the choice Wednesday.

On Tuesday, simply hours after information of Biden’s determination broke, the Taliban additionally distanced itself from a U.S.-led intensified push for peace. The group introduced its representatives wouldn’t attend a peace convention in Turkey meant to jump-start stalled talks between the militants and the Afghan authorities.

“Till all overseas forces utterly withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate [the Taliban] won’t take part in any convention that shall make choices about Afghanistan,” tweeted Mohammad Naeem, the spokesman for the Taliban’s political workplace.

A withdrawal of U.S. forces with out a peace deal would in all probability lead to large-scale battlefield good points by the militants. John Sopko, the unbiased particular inspector basic for Afghanistan reconstruction, warned final month that such a state of affairs would in all probability end result within the collapse of the Afghan authorities.

“It will embolden the Taliban,” stated an Afghan official briefed on the specifics of Biden’s withdrawal plan who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of he was not approved to temporary the information media. “It provides them a win, and neither the Afghan authorities or the Individuals get something in return,” he stated.

However, he stated, the brand new timeline affords the Afghan authorities “readability” and provides Afghan forces just a few extra months to “recalibrate” and correctly put together for the U.S. departure.

The Afghan authorities negotiating staff declined to touch upon the way forward for talks with the Taliban. However some members stated the Taliban announcement that it’s going to not attend the Turkey convention may trigger talks in Doha to grind to a whole halt.

“Whom would we discuss to?” requested one of many members, referring to the Taliban pulling out of the talks. The member spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of the staff will not be permitted to talk to the information media forward of the Afghan authorities’s formal response. “I’m misplaced and really disenchanted.”

Additional delays on the negotiating desk and what the militants view as Biden’s breach of the Doha settlement may immediate the Taliban to launch its spring offensive, a surge in assaults that occurs annually because the climate warms in Afghanistan.

Taliban fighters have launched operations surrounding key cities and cities that Afghan forces are struggling to repel. However general the extent of violence was decrease in 2020 than in earlier years, and the group has largely halted giant assaults inside cities.

An announcement from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s workplace Tuesday appeared to aim to quell fears of elevated violence, saying the Afghan army has defended the nation “with excessive ethical [for the] previous 2 years and have lately performed near 98% of operations independently. They’re absolutely able to doing that sooner or later.”

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