WASHINGTON -- The Taliban are not meeting the promises they made in their peace agreement with the United States, including reducing violence and cutting ties with al-Qaeda, the Pentagon said on Thursday (January 28).
"We are still involved in trying to get a negotiated settlement. The Taliban have not met their commitments," said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
US President Joe Biden's administration is committed to the February 2020 peace agreement reached in Qatar between the United States and the Taliban, said Kirby.
Halting attacks on US forces and entering peace talks with the Afghan government are among the commitments the Taliban made in last year's deal with the US government.
In return, the United States would steadily reduce its presence in Afghanistan and remove all its forces from the country by May 2021.
There is "no change" to the commitments the United States made in the 2020 peace deal, said Kirby.
"The Taliban are not meeting their commitments to reduce violence and to renounce their ties to al-Qaeda," he said.
As long as that remains the case, he said, "it's going to be difficult for anybody at that negotiating table" to stand by their own promises.
"In fact, it would not be the wise course," he added, underlining the US commitment to ending the war "in a responsible way."
2,500 troops can do the job: Pentagon
The US Defence Department is comfortable with the present level of 2,500 US troops in the country, down from almost 13,000 a year ago, said Kirby.
Kirby did not commit to a total troop withdrawal by the May deadline.
Much depends on whether the Taliban and the Afghan government can negotiate a peace settlement, he said told reporters in a briefing at the Pentagon.
"I would say this to the leaders of the Taliban, that ... they make it that much more difficult for final decisions to be made about force presence by their [reluctance] to commit to reasonable, sustainable and credible negotiations at the table," he said.