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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Afghan capital on excessive alert over US failure to fulfill troop withdrawal ‘deadline’

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An Afghan Nationwide Military soldier sits on a again of a military car at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan April 21, 2021. Picture: Reuters/File 
  • US President Joe Biden had introduced final month that forces would keep within the nation for months past Could and withdraw by September 11. 
  • Safety supply says metropolis has been positioned on “high alert”.
  • Taliban spokesman says passing deadline has opened the best way for fighters to take each counter-action they deem applicable.

KABUL: Afghan authorities on Saturday elevated the safety in Kabul because the nation is anticipating a response from the Taliban over Joe Biden’s failure to fulfill the Could 1 troop withdrawal deadline agreed by his predecessor in 2020.

An elevated army presence and safety at checkpoints had been seen within the Afghan capital, and a safety supply mentioned town had been positioned on “high alert”. Navy patrols and safety had been being elevated in foremost cities across the nation, the supply mentioned.

Underneath the Trump administration’s February 2020 cope with the Taliban, overseas forces had been to withdraw from the nation by Could 1 whereas the Taliban held off on attacking overseas troops and bases. However President Biden introduced final month after reviewing the scenario that forces would keep within the nation for months past Could, withdrawing by September 11. 

Learn extra: US army begins ultimate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan

The Taliban responded to the Biden administration’s transfer with fiery rhetoric and threatened penalties, boycotting an important convention in Turkey scheduled for final month that had been deliberate to assist jumpstart stalling Afghan peace talks in Doha.

Since then contacts have been maintained, official and Taliban sources say, in an effort to attempt to get the Taliban again to negotiating desk and conform to the prolonged overseas troop presence.

As of Saturday it was unclear whether or not concrete progress had been made and there had been no announcement on an extension.

Threats critical 

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned 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.”

However he added that fighters had been ready on the choice of Taliban management.

Earlier within the week Mujahid informed Reuters conversations had been persevering with.

Learn extra: UN mission in Afghanistan to stay in place after US, NATO withdrawal

“Discussions between the US and Taliban and … within the Taliban’s leadership are under way whether to extend that or not,” he mentioned.

Washington has additionally warned that if overseas forces had been attacked whereas finishing up the withdrawal they’d defend themselves “with all the tools at our disposal”.

Specialists mentioned the Taliban threats must be taken critically, however quite a lot of components meant that full-scale assaults in opposition to overseas targets might be averted, because the Taliban continued negotiations.

“We can’t rule out attacks,” mentioned Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programme on the Woodrow Wilson Middle in Washington. “That said, the Taliban is less likely to attack foreign forces now that it knows there is a specific date when they will be leaving.”

Negotiations ongoing

Within the lead as much as Could, sources mentioned there was a flurry of conferences and negotiations continued with the Taliban to attempt to get them to conform to a deadline extension.

The US particular envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had met with the Taliban’s head of political workplace, Mullah Baradar, in Doha, a Taliban spokesman mentioned on Friday.

Additionally on Friday, the eve of the Could 1 deadline, envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan and the US held conferences with Taliban officers and Afghan authorities negotiators within the Qatari capital. The Taliban mentioned they mentioned the peace course of and their request that Taliban leaders be faraway from sanctions lists.

Learn extra: US troops to depart Afghanistan by September 11

Sources additionally mentioned {that a} delegation of Taliban political leaders had been in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad this week.

Two Taliban sources and one official supply mentioned negotiations had revolved across the proposed deadline extension in change for the US not getting concerned in Afghan army operations in opposition to the Taliban; getting the Taliban to decide to re-joining the Turkey convention in the event that they had been supplied with an agenda on what could be mentioned there; and probably declaring a ceasefire over the upcoming Eid vacation.

Pakistan’s Overseas Workplace didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

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