Biden administration to review US-Taliban withdrawal deal Afghan officials welcome decision

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Washington

The Biden administration said it will review a landmark United States deal with the Taliban, focusing on whether the insurgent group has reduced attacks in Afghanistan, in keeping with its side of the agreement. This announcement
has been welcomed by top Afghan officials.
Washington struck a deal with the Taliban in Qatar last year, to begin withdrawing its troops in return for security guarantees from the militants and a commitment to kickstart peace talks with the Afghan government.
The US had committed to reducing the number of its troops in Afghanistan from 13,000 to 8,600 within 135 days of signing the deal, and working with its allies to proportionally reduce the number of coalition forces in Afghanistan over the same period. Currently, there are 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden’s newly appointed national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, spoke with his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib and “made clear the United States’ intention to review” the deal, said National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne.
Specifically, Washington wants to check that the Taliban are “living up to [their] commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders”, her statement continued.
“We want to retain some capacity to deal with any resurgence of terrorism, which is what brought us there in the first place,” Blinken said in his confirmation hearing. “We have to look carefully at what has actually been negotiated. I haven’t been privy to it yet.”
Afghanistan’s acting minister of state for peace said the outcome of the review should be a truce to end attacks in the war-ravaged country. It is expected the review will lead “to the demand of the Afghan people, which is an immediate stop to violence and achieving permanent peace”, Abdullah Khenjani said in a video statement Saturday. When contacted, the Taliban said they remained “committed to the agreement and honour our commitments”.
—- AFP

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