The US-Taliban deal signed on February 28 in Doha has remained unimplemented as some parts of the agreement, a reduction in violence and intra-Afghan negotiations, should have happened 135 days after the accord. The intra-Afghan talks have not begun and violence has not been reduced.
Monday was the 136th day after the peace deal that raised hopes among the Afghan people and political elites who believed it would lead the country towards negotiations. During this period, the number of US forces has decreased to the target 8,600 and according to special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, the US forces have departed five bases in Afghanistan as part of the agreement.
A US official in Kabul said on condition of anonymity that the five bases were in Helmand, Uruzgan, Paktika and Laghman provinces of Afghanistan.
The Afghan government has blamed the Taliban for not implementing their commitments, saying the movements by the group should be scrutinized after the peace deal.
NATO has around 12,000 troops under the Resolute Support mission, which includes a portion of the 8,600 total US troops, according to the Resolute Support mission.
The prisoner exchange between the Afghan government and the Taliban is another complicated process that has delayed the intra-Afghan negotiations. The process should have happened 10 days after the peace deal, according to the agreement.
“Their (Taliban’s) key responsibility was a significant reduction in violence and an 'unofficial' ceasefire. Another responsibility of theirs was to cut their ties with all terrorist groups, but you saw in recent reports by the UN and US that this has not happened so far,” presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. “A big role in the peace process is on the Taliban's shoulders.”
According to the agreement, the Taliban has been asked to cut their ties with terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, but a Pentagon report released earlier this month said al-Qaeda’s regional affiliate in Afghanistan maintains “close ties” to the Taliban and has an "enduring interest" in attacking US troops.
“Last night, a group of over 70 Taliban with the help of foreign terrorists attacked a checkpoint of security forces in Arghanjkhwah district in which seven members of the local and national police were martyred and two others were wounded,” said Nek Mohammad Nazari, spokesman for the Badakhshan governor.
The Afghan government has so far released over 4,200 Taliban prisoners out of 5,000. There is a rift over the release of 529 of the prisoners.
“They (Taliban) have neither reduced violence nor they have released prisoners (of the government forces) and neither they have been able to create a consensus for peace within their leadership,” said Jawed Faisal, spokesman for the National Security Council.
The Taliban on Monday conducted a complex attack on an NDS compound in the northern province of Samangan, leaving 10 dead and 60 others wounded. A spokesman of the group, Zabihullah Mujahid, in reaction to calls for a reduction in violence said on Sunday that they have yet to find an alternative for war. He urged the completion of the release of 5,000 prisoners and the start of the intra-Afghan negotiations.
Meanwhile, US Chargé d’Affaires Ross Wilson who met with the Afghan negotiating team today said in a tweet that “to start the next chapter and move to the successful negotiations that Afghans demand, both sides need to complete the exchange of prisoners, and the Taliban must reduce the violence.”