Joe Biden’s government signaled to the Afghan authorities on Friday its willingness to review the US-Taliban agreement signed in February 2020, in particular to “assess” the respect by the insurgents of their commitments.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan called on his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib and “made clear” his intention to “review” the deal, his spokeswoman Emily Horne said in a statement.
He asked him in particular “to assess whether the Taliban are respecting their commitments to sever all links with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan and to conduct serious negotiations with the Afghan government and other actors”, he said. -she adds.
The agreement, not ratified by Kabul – the Afghan government has been excluded from the negotiations – provides for the total withdrawal of American forces by mid-2021 in exchange in particular for the commitment of the Taliban not to let terrorist groups operate from the areas they control.
Mr. Sullivan also expressed America’s “desire that all Afghan leaders seize this historic opportunity for peace and stability”.
These comments were greeted with relief by the Afghan authorities who anxiously awaited to see how the Biden administration would position itself on the matter.
“We agreed to continue to work for a permanent ceasefire and a just and lasting peace, in a democratic Afghanistan, able to preserve the gains of the last two decades”, wrote on Twitter Mr. Mohib following the Mr. Sullivan’s call.
“We will continue these close discussions in the days and weeks to come,” he said.
Sediq Sediqqi, deputy interior minister, meanwhile took the opportunity to criticize the US-Taliban agreement.
“The agreement has so far failed to achieve the desired goal of ending Taliban violence and bringing about a ceasefire,” he wrote on Twitter.
“The Taliban have not lived up to their commitments,” he added.
The agreement also provided for the launch of direct peace negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities, which began in September in Doha, but have not yet produced concrete results.
Since then, violence has only increased across the country, with daily Taliban attacks on Afghan forces.
In cities, targeted killings of journalists, politicians and rights defenders have become more and more frequent.
Even though the Islamic State organization claimed some of these attacks, Kabul and Washington blame them on the Taliban.
On Tuesday, the future head of American diplomacy, Antony Blinken, had already noted that the new administration was going to review the agreement, deeming in particular essential to “preserve the advances that have been made for women and girls in Afghanistan over the years. Last 20 years ”.
Washington reduced its military strength in Afghanistan to 2,500 on January 15, its lowest level since 2001.