Afghan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Hanif Atmar at a press conference on Thursday said that over 30 nations have called on the Taliban to resume the peace negotiations in Doha.
He urged the international community to review legal options to press the Taliban to abide by its commitments to the US-Taliban peace agreement signed between the two sides in Doha last February.
“All our international partners reiterated today that the Taliban must return to the peace process and restart the negotiations—if they want the international community to trust them in the peace process, then they should abide by their commitments in the Doha agreement,” said Atmar.
Atmar said the new US administration is reviewing the US agreement with the Taliban and that the United States and Afghanistan are working on a joint program about the peace process.
Referring to the US troop withdrawal, Atmar said that the complete drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan will be based on the conditions on the ground.
What do Afghan politicians expect of the Biden administration?
“The United States of American understands the situation in the region, they also understand the situation in Afghanistan. Most likely, they will choose the middle option in which the two sides will agree,” said Rahmatullah Nabil, the former head of the Afghan intelligence agency—the National Directorate of Security (NDS).
Atmar also stressed that a regional consensus has been reached about the Afghan peace process.
He said the Afghan government is trying to further strengthen this consensus.
Atmar stated that the regional countries have also expressed their support for the current system in Afghanistan in recent discussions with the Taliban.
Nevertheless, the US President Joe Biden in his first visit to the Pentagon as commander-in-chief, has promised to work with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin and leaders around the world "to bring a responsible end to wars that have dragged on for far too long, while continuing to ensure that terrorist threats cannot endanger the security of the American people."
"As your commander in chief, I will never hesitate to use force to defend the vital interest of America, the American people and our allies around the world when necessary,” Biden said, adding that “the central indispensable mission of the Department of Defense is to deter aggression from our enemies, and if required to, fight and win wars to keep America safe."
But “force should be a tool of last resort, not the first,” he said.
“The Defense Department is essential for the work State Department diplomats do around the world. In fact, the president said, DOD personnel are not just the guarantors of US security, but often diplomats themselves,” he said.
In the meantime, the Washington Times reported that has indicated he could abandon the approaching May 1 exit deadline to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.
The February 2020 deal says that all US troops are supposed to be gone by May 2021.
However, officials in the Biden administration have said any deal should be based on conditions on the ground rather than a date set on a calendar.