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Afghan Taliban warns Washington against breaking the Doha Agreement

Afghan Taliban threatens a “major war” if the US backtracks on the Doha Agreement

ISLAMABAD/KABUL: The Afghan Taliban has warned Washington against breaking the US-Taliban deal signed in February last year and threatened “major war” if the new Biden administration fails to abide by its commitment to withdraw all troops by the end of April.

In a statement issued by the Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the group said: “If the Doha agreement is abrogated, it will lead to a major war, the responsibility of which shall fall squarely on the shoulders of America.”

The statement further added that:” If, God forbid, the Doha agreement is breached, it will lead to a dangerous escalation…”

The Afghan Taliban statement further clarifies that any harm to the Doha agreement will have “dangerous consequences” and the other side will be responsible.

“If the Doha agreement is abolished, it will be the cause of the longest war and the US will be responsible,” the statement said, adding the Doha agreement reached after efforts, long discussions, and evaluation by the Taliban and the US negotiation teams and is the only solution to the conflict and a sensible, and an option for durable peace.

“The new US administration should not invest in the continuation of war, warmongers and corrupt. The Taliban are committed to the commitments in the Doha agreement and consider it as the only solution to the Afghan problem,” the Afghan Taliban statement said.

The statement came in response to the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) brief this week in which the group suggested the US extend the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by at least six months while it reviews the deal it signed with the Taliban.

The ICG stated that after the February 2020 deal between the US and the Afghan Taliban, peace talks took six months to start and have only inched forward slightly. According to the group in light of this, “it is far from clear where negotiations are headed.” The group stated that with the end-April deadline for full troop withdrawal fast approaching, Washington would be wise to extend the deadline.

“This is not enough time for the new administration to set its policy course and evaluate Taliban compliance with the counter-terrorism assurances it provided in the February deal. “Nor is it sufficient time for the Afghan parties – who, for instance, spent three months negotiating a brief set of procedural rules for talks – to notch any meaningful agreements,” the group stated in its briefing.

On the other side, the Afghan Taliban are unhappy about this possibility and said: “If, God forbid, the Doha agreement is breached, it will lead to a dangerous escalation for which the opposing side will be responsible. The Afghan Taliban also said, “all must desist from provocative actions and rhetoric that could lead us all back to former war footing posture because such is neither in the interest of America nor in the interest of the Afghan people.”

Meanwhile, the Afghan government welcomed the report. Afghanistan’s first vice-president Amrullah Saleh stated in his tweet: “We highly welcome the report which is more nuanced than the title given to it. It asks wisdom & deliberation not impulsive & rush decisions,” Saleh said.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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