The Taliban on Tuesday warned that the group will not participate in any conference that will make decisions about Afghanistan, hours after the Washington Post reported that the Biden Administration will pull out its forces from the country by September 11.
“Until all foreign forces completely withdraw from our homeland, the Islamic Emirate will not participate in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan,” tweeted Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban in Doha.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that “President Biden will withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan over the coming months, people familiar with the plans said, completing the military exit by the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that first drew the United States into its longest war.”
According to the report, Biden is expected to announce his decision on Wednesday.
“This is the immediate, practical reality that our policy review discovered,” the person familiar with the deliberations said. “If we break the May 1st deadline negotiated by the previous administration with no clear plan to exit, we will be back at war with the Taliban, and that was not something President Biden believed was in the national interest.”
Under the US-Taliban peace agreement signed on February 2020, all US forces stationed in Afghanistan must leave the country by May 1. But sources close to the Taliban have said that the Biden administration has asked the Taliban to agree on the presence of the US forces for another three or six months.
The Taliban’s refusal came hours after the Turkish Foreign Ministry in a statement announced that co-conveners of the UN-led peace conference on Afghanistan have decided to convene the conference on April 24.
Meanwhile, Stephen Dujarric, Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General, has said that the Turkey conference on Afghanistan will focus on helping the negotiating parties to reach some fundamental principles for a future roadmap for a political agreement.
“The Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan peace process is to accelerate and complement the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha on the achievement of a just and durable political settlement,” said the UN spokesperson.
The Taliban have been saying that the presence of US forces in Afghanistan after a May 1 deadline is a violation of the Doha peace agreement.
“If the US does not honor its commitments and does not withdraw its forces as per May 1 deadline, the Taliban will also resume their attacks,” said Mawlana Jalaluddin Shinwari, a former Taliban member.
“The Taliban want power, only power, they do not want someone else to share it with them,” said Qazi Mohammad Amin Weqad, the former deputy head of high council of peace.
Meanwhile, Germany and Britain have also said they will withdraw their forces from Afghanistan simultaneously with the withdrawal of US troops from the country.
Currently, there are about 2,500 US forces and 8,000 NATO forces in Afghanistan.