A day after US President Joe Biden’s remarks on the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban in a statement on Friday warned that delay in American forces presence in the country will be seen as the violation of the Doha agreement and that all future responsibility for the continuation of violence will be on those who violate the deal.
The Taliban said they remain committed to the agreement, calling on the US to stay committed to the deal and avoid wasting this historic opportunity "for flawed advice and incitement by warmongering circles."
The Taliban said that the Doha agreement is a logic way to achieve peace and end the two decades of war but reiterated that if the deal is violated, the group will continue its "jihad and fight" against the US to "free the country."
Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem, meanwhile, told TOLOnews that all tactical issues for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan have been settled in the US-Taliban deal and that there is no reason for the US to stay beyond May 1 deadline.
Naeem said violation of the Doha deal will bring new problems and that the responsibility will be on those who breach the agreement.
Biden in his first press conference on Thursday said it will be hard to meet the May 1 deadline for getting troops out of Afghanistan for "tactical reasons."
Asked if he envisioned US troops in Afghanistan a year from now, Biden said he cannot “picture that being the case.”
“We will leave. The question is when we leave,” Biden said.
He said Secretary Blinken was meeting with NATO allies on Afghanistan on how to proceed, “and if we leave we are going to do so in a safe and orderly way.”
The US president said the UN-led process would be beginning shortly on “how to end this war.”
“It is not my intention to stay there for a long time. The question is how and under what circumstances do we meet that agreement that was made by President Trump. To be under a deal that looks like it is not able to be worked out to begin with,” added Biden.
The deal signed between former US president Donald Trump’s administration and the Taliban marked its first anniversary on February 29, with the Afghan government saying that the accord did not produce the expected results, as violence in the country has increased. But the Taliban says it is a practical step toward achieving peace and stability in the country.
The US and Taliban deal was signed after 18 months of talks between the US negotiating team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban negotiators in Doha.
The United States agreed in the deal to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by May 1st and the Taliban committed to cutting their ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and to not allow terrorist groups to operate on Afghan soil.
Based on the agreement, the intra-Afghan talks between negotiators from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban were supposed to begin 10 days after the deal was signed, but this was delayed due to differences over the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners by the Afghan government, something which was later approved by the Loya Jirga, the grand council, convened by President Ghani.
Finally, the Afghan government released over 5,000 Taliban prisoners and the intra-Afghan negotiations began on September 12 at a ceremony in Doha. The two sides continued their discussions for three months but were only able to agree on procedural rules of the negotiations during this period.
But the Taliban in a statement on the first anniversary of the deal criticized US forces for its continuation of the airstrikes. Referring to the review of the deal, the Taliban has said that the peace agreement—signed in Doha—is the practical way toward peace and stability in Afghanistan and that seeking any alternative for the deal will be a failed attempt and will end in failure for the peace efforts.
Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in a voice message on the first anniversary of the deal called it the main tool to bring peace and stability and an Islamic system to the country.
The negotiating teams in Doha have held four meetings over the last week but these discussions have not had any progress. Sources familiar with the process said that progress and speed in the talks are dependent on the announcement of the results of the US review of the Doha agreement.
Under the US-Taliban deal, the US forces have to leave Afghanistan on May 1.