US reviewing Taliban commitment to peace deal: Blinken

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Washington/Islamabad

In his first telephone call to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration was reviewing the US-Taliban peace deal and the insurgents’ commitment to the agreement.

On Thursday afternoon, the State Department issued a readout of the Blinken-Ghani conversation, which reiterates the new US administration’s commitment to an enduring US-Afghanistan partnership.

The Secretary “shared that the United States is reviewing the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement and whether 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,” the statement read.
“He highlighted robust diplomatic support for the peace process focused on helping the parties to the conflict achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire that benefits all Afghans,” it added.

According to the statement released on Thursday, Blinken reiterated his desire for all Afghan leaders to support this historic opportunity for peace while preserving the progress made over the last 20 years regarding human rights, civil liberties, and the role of women in Afghan society. “The Secretary committed to consultations with the government of Afghanistan, Nato allies, and international partners regarding a collective strategy to support a stable, sovereign, democratic, and secure future for Afghanistan,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said on Thursday that the Taliban are not meeting the promises they made in the peace agreement with the United States, including reducing violence and cutting ties with Al-Qaeda, . “We are still involved in trying to get a negotiated settlement. The Taliban have not met their commitments,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Kirby said the new administration of President Joe Biden remains committed to the February 2020 peace agreement set in Qatar between the United States and the Afghan insurgent group.

On the other hand, Pakistan has said the Afghan peace process had advanced into an important phase that needed “commitment and responsibility” by all sides, in a calculated statement that suggests Islamabad is not favouring the review of the peace deal by the new US administration. The talks have so far made slow progress due to differences between the two sides. What added to the already complicated process is the continued violence in Afghanistan.

Asked to comment on the Pakistan’s reaction to the possible review, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafiz Chaudhri told reporters that Pakistan had consistently maintained that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.