The best Afghan officials on Saturday welcomed the decision by US President Joe Biden’s government to review a landmark in the United States with the Taliban and focus on whether the rebels have reduced attacks in Afghanistan in accordance with the agreement.
Washington signed an agreement with the Taliban in Qatar last year to begin withdrawing its troops in exchange for security guarantees from the militants and a commitment to start peace talks with the Afghan government.
But Bid’s officials will evaluate the pact after violence across Afghanistan has escalated in recent weeks, despite the Taliban and the Afghan government continuing talks since September.
Afghanistan’s acting peace minister Abdullah Khenjani said the results of the inquiry should be a ceasefire to end the attacks in the war – torn country.
Khenjani said the review should lead to “an immediate stop to violence and achieve permanent peace” in a video clip on Saturday.
President Joe Biden’s newly appointed National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, spoke with his Afghan counterpart, Hamdullah Mohib, and “clarified the United States’ intention to review” the deal, National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said late Friday.
Washington wants to ensure that the Taliban “live up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, reduce violence in Afghanistan and engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders,” she said.
Sullivan “stressed that the United States will support the peace process with a robust and regional diplomatic effort, aimed at helping the two sides achieve a sustainable and just political solution and a permanent ceasefire.”
Mr Sullivan also discussed US support for protecting recent progress on the rights of women and minorities as part of the peace process.
The Taliban said they remained “committed to the agreement and fulfilled our commitments” when contacted by AFP.
“We expect the other side to remain committed to the agreement,” said Mohammad Naeem, the group’s spokesman in Qatar.
Requires permanent ceasefire
The move to scrutinize the deal was met with relief from senior Kabul officials after months of speculation about how the new Biden administration could potentially calibrate Washington’s Afghan policy.
Mohib, the Afghan national security adviser, tweeted that the two sides during the conversation “agreed to work for a permanent ceasefire and a just and lasting peace” in the country.
Another top Afghan prime minister served the Taliban’s failure to live up to the February 2020 agreement, saying the agreement failed to achieve its stated goals.
“The agreement so far has not delivered a desired goal to end the Taliban’s violence and to bring about a ceasefire desired by the Afghans,” Sediq Sediqqi, Deputy Interior Minister and former spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, said on Twitter.
We welcome the US intention to review the agreement between the United States and the Taliban in February 2020. The agreement so far did not deliver a desired goal of ending the Taliban’s violence and bringing about a ceasefire that the Afghans wanted. The Taliban did not fulfill their commitments. https://t.co/sS96G7XMuI
– Sediq Sediqqi (@SediqSediqqi) January 23, 2021
Lethal attacks and high-profile killings in Afghanistan have increased in recent months, especially in Kabul, where several journalists, activists, judges and politicians have been killed in cheeky daylight attacks.
The Taliban have denied responsibility for the killings, but Afghan and US officials have blamed the group for the killings.
Antony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for foreign minister, told his US Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday that “we want to end this so-called eternal war”.
( Jowharwith AFP)