A Taliban negotiator Suhail Shaheen at a press conference in Moscow on Friday said that the peace negotiations in Doha should be expedited.
“It is important that the negotiations should be expedited because it will help us to achieve a permanent ceasefire and countrywide peace and this is our goal,” He said. “As we talked with Afghan politicians, they also insisted that the process should be expedited.”
Addressing a press conference aired by Russia's Sputnik news, Shaheen said their aim is to achieve an “Islamic government” that will represent all Afghans.
But he added that “it is on Afghans that which type of a government they will establish” – as a result of peace negotiations.
Shaheen said that the US should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan based on May 1 deadline.
“We had 18 months of negotiations with Americans, and they agreed that they will withdraw in 14 months,” Shaheen said. “They should leave and if they don’t leave by the end of April that means they continue the violation of the agreement. That violation will not be from our side, but it will be from their side.”
“In that case, if there is an action of course there will be a reaction. The violation will have a reaction,” Shaheen said.
This comes as NBC News reported on Thursday that US President Joe Biden is considering keeping the United States troops in Afghanistan until November, rather than withdrawing them by a May 1 deadline outlined in the Doha agreement.
In recent discussions with members of his national security team, Biden has pushed back against the Defense Department’s efforts to keep US troops in Afghanistan beyond May 1, one of the people said, as quoted by NBC News. But he has been persuaded to consider a six-month extension.
This also comes as representatives of Russia, China, the US and Pakistan in a joint statement said they would not support the return of the Islamic emirate system in Afghanistan.
The statement also recognized the will of the Afghan people for peace, called for a reduction in violence from all sides and for the Taliban to not launch a Spring offensive, and reiterated calls for a negotiated settlement for the conflict.
“As stated in the UNSC resolution 2513 (2020), we do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate and we call on the government of the Islamic and the High Council for National Reconciliation to engage openly with their Taliban counterparts regarding a negotiated settlement,” the statement said.
The joint statement also called on participants in the intra-Afghan negotiations to engage immediately in discussions on fundamental issues to resolve the conflict.