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WATCH: Worldwide troops to remain in Afghanistan past Might deadline, say NATO officers

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  • Worldwide troops plan to remain in Afghanistan past the deadline of Might 2021 regardless of a US-Taliban deal, NATO sources say
  • The Taliban have demanded full withdrawal of the troops 
  • NATO sources say circumstances for full withdrawal haven’t been met
  • With new US administration, there will likely be tweaks within the coverage; extra calculated exit technique

ISLAMABAD: Worldwide troops plan to remain in Afghanistan past the Might deadline envisaged by the rebel Taliban’s cope with the US, 4 senior NATO officers stated, a transfer that might escalate tensions with the Taliban demanding full withdrawal.

“There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,” one of many officers instructed Reuters.

“Conditions have not been met,” he stated on situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. “And with the new U.S. administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy.”

The administration of then-President Donald Trump signed an settlement with the Taliban early final yr calling for the withdrawal of all overseas troops by Might in return for the insurgents fulfilling sure safety ensures.

Trump hailed the accord – which didn’t embody the Afghan authorities – as the top of 20 years of battle. He decreased U.S. troops to 2,500 by this month, the fewest since 2001.

Plans on what’s going to occur after April at the moment are being thought of and more likely to be a high subject at a key NATO assembly in February, the NATO sources stated.

The positions of the North Atlantic Treaty Group have gotten more and more necessary after the alliance was sidelined by Trump, diplomats and specialists say.

Peace talks between the Afghan authorities and the Taliban started in September in Doha, however violence has remained excessive.

Learn extra: ‘Important milestone’ in Afghanistan peace course of reached: US envoy Khalilzad

“No NATO ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, but we have been clear that our presence remains conditions-based,” stated NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu. “Allies continue to assess the overall situation and to consult on the way forward.”

She stated about 10,000 troops, together with Individuals, are in Afghanistan. These ranges are anticipated to remain roughly the identical till after Might, however the plan past that isn’t clear, the NATO supply stated.

Kabul and a few overseas governments and businesses say the Taliban has failed to satisfy circumstances resulting from escalated violence and a failure to chop ties with militant teams reminiscent of Al Qaeda, which the Taliban denies.

The administration of Joe Biden, who changed Trump on Jan. 20, has launched a assessment of his predecessor’s peace settlement.

A Pentagon spokesman stated the Taliban haven’t met their commitments however Washington remained dedicated to the method and had not selected future troop ranges.

A State Division consultant stated Biden was dedicated to bringing a “responsible end to the ‘forever wars’… while also protecting Americans from terrorist and other threats.”

Afghanistan’s presidential palace didn’t reply to a request for remark.

Rising concern

The Taliban have develop into more and more involved in latest weeks in regards to the risk that Washington may change features of the settlement and hold troops within the nation past Might, two Taliban sources instructed Reuters.

“We conveyed our apprehensions, but they assured us of honouring and acting on the Doha accord. What’s going on, on the ground in Afghanistan, is showing something else. And that’s why we decided to send our delegations to take our allies into confidence,” stated a Taliban chief in Doha.

A Taliban delegation this week visited Iran and Russia, and the chief stated they had been contacting China.

Though casual conferences have been going down between negotiators in Doha, progress has stalled in latest weeks after an nearly one-month break, in response to negotiators and diplomats.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid instructed Reuters the insurgents remained dedicated to the peace course of.

“No doubt that if the Doha deal is not implemented there will be consequences, and the blame will be upon that side which does not honour the deal,” he stated. “Our expectations are also that NATO will think to end this war and avoid more excuses for prolonging the war in Afghanistan.”

NATO and Washington can have a problem getting the Taliban to comply with an extension past Might.

If the state of affairs stays unclear, the Taliban could improve assaults, presumably as soon as once more on worldwide forces, stated Ashley Jackson, co-director of the Centre for the Examine of Armed Teams on the British suppose tank ODI.

The dearth of a decision “gives voice to spoilers inside the Taliban who never believed the U.S. would leave willingly, and who have pushed for a ratcheting up of attacks even after the U.S.-Taliban deal was agreed,” she stated.

A Feb. 17-18 assembly of NATO defence ministers will likely be an opportunity for a newly empowered NATO to find out how the method can be formed, stated one supply, a senior European diplomat.

“With the new administration coming in there will be a more cooperative result, NATO countries will have a say.”

Learn extra: Pentagon strikes forward with US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan regardless of regulation barring it

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