As US prepared exit, Taliban protected foreign bases

67
Kabul

Taliban fighters have protected western military bases in Afghanistan from attacks by rival, or rogue Islamist groups for over a year under a secret annex to a pact for the withdrawal of all US forces by May 1, three Western officials with knowledge of the agreement told Reuters.

The US State Department gave no immediate response to Reuters over the existence of any such document.

Nor did it have any immediate comment on what the three officials described as a “Taliban ring of protection”.

Since the United States struck a deal with the Taliban in February 29, 2020, paving the way for America to end its longest war, there have been no US combat deaths, and there have been only isolated attacks on US bases.

Instead, the Taliban intensified attacks on Afghan government forces, and civilian casualties have spiralled

. Peace talks between the militants and the government, begun in September, have made no significant progress, and a UN report said civilian casualties were up 45 per cent in the last three months of 2020 from a year earlier.—Reuters