Kabul on high alert over US failure to meet pullout ‘deadline’

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Kabul

Afghan authorities on Saturday increased the security in Kabul as the country is expecting a reaction from the Taliban over Joe Biden’s failure to meet the May 1 troop withdrawal deadline agreed by his predecessor in 2020.

An increased military presence and security at checkpoints were visible in the Afghan capital, and a security source said the city had been placed on “high alert”.

Military patrols and security were being increased in main cities around the country, the source said.

Under the Trump administration’s February 2020 deal with the Taliban, foreign forces were to withdraw from the country by May 1 while the Taliban held off on attacking foreign troops and bases.

But President Biden announced last month after reviewing the situation that forces would stay in the country for months beyond May, withdrawing by September 11.

The Taliban responded to the Biden administration’s move with fiery rhetoric and threatened consequences, boycotting a crucial conference in Turkey scheduled for last month that had been planned to help jumpstart stalling Afghan peace talks in Doha.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter on Saturday that the passing deadline meant “this violation in principle has opened the way for (Taliban fighters) to take every counter-action it deems appropriate against the occupying forces.”— Agencies