Security

Taliban have not met commitments in Afghan peace deal: Pentagon

By Salaam Times and AFP

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US Department of Defence (DOD) spokesman John Kirby briefs media at the Pentagon on January 28. [Lisa Ferdinando/DOD]

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.

It is enough to carry out the main US mission in the country now, to counter the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) and al-Qaeda forces operating in Afghanistan, he said.

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.

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American Technology and American military power is unparalleled. If a B-52 just flies in the air over the southern part of the country, believe me, you will not see Taliban’s checkpoints and their mobile patrols on the highways anymore.

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Greetings to all of you. As it is freedom of speech, everyone has the right to ask a question, but the question should be raised in such way in which the questioner does not make the claim of open-mindedness very much, and if he is too clever, according to our people, he is gone. That is, his death prayer will be recited by the advocates of democracy. I always watch modern technology of the countries on YouTube channels, especially that of the first world countries. As I know and have seen, American military technology is so advanced that the distance between us humans and America is like the distance between the Earth and Mars. How is it possible that America couldn’t destroy Taliban with the same technology, and could not bring peace to the country? I swear by God, if there is one tank, not F-35 airplanes, in every 50 kilometers, even not a single armed dissident will be seen in this country. Therefore, America doesn’t want peace to come, because it is the war of opium. Neither Taliban are fighting for God, nor is the government fighting for the defense of the people.

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I was one of the most tenacious advocates of democracy, secularism, liberalism, and I still believe in these concepts, but I see bitter truths with my eyes. Talibanism has roots in the religious nature of our people, and it is so ingrained that if you destroy it, you have to destroy the whole nation, which is impossible. So we surrender to our fate and accept Taliban if they make peace and stop killing of the people.

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We unfortunate people are caught in the hands of thieves, robbers, bandits, fatherless and motherless, bearded, and beardless people as well as the so-called government, Taliban, ISIS, etc. There is nothing left in Afghanistan under the name of government sovereignty. Thanks to the sympathy, cooperation and support of the government, Taliban’s strength has grown from zero to 100 percent in the last 20 years. In all districts of the country, only buildings of the districts and police headquarters are under the government’s control. The rest are in the hand of Taliban. The cases and legal claims of the people in the districts are handled by Taliban. The electricity bills, money obtained from the development projects, tithes, etc. is collected by Taliban. In short, Taliban dominates all the affairs of the people. War, terror and explosions have also become daily occurrences. The governance system is broken. Taliban's ideology is spreading rapidly among the people. What is the alternative other than peace and accepting Taliban regime? Democracy in this country is doomed to failure. It is even vulnerable in America, as Trump was an objective example of this failure. For this reason, Taliban are coming whether we want or not, and they will dominate the people. We are obliged to accept Taliban’s system. Right now, the most important thing is peace, in the absence of which hundreds of people are killed in the country.

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The United States is always seeking its own interests. If Taliban do not pose a threat to the United States’ interests, it will bring them to power in Afghanistan today, and if the United States knows that Taliban threatens the interests of this country very little, it will never make peace with this group. It does not matter to us whether Taliban have ties with al-Qaeda or not, but what matter for us is the war which continues in Afghanistan and the reason for the war is also that Taliban have been deprived of power and for 20 years, both Taliban and the Afghan government victimized the poor and destitute people of Afghanistan. During the 20 years of the United States' military presence in Afghanistan, if one thousand innocent Afghans were martyred in the war, no change came in America’s policy, and also it didn’t matter for America if there was no war. For America, its interests are important. Leaders of the Afghan government and Taliban must use their intellect, come and make peace with each other. Taliban must cut ties with al-Qaeda, because it is to the detriment of our country and foreign countries will cut ties with us and will no longer help Afghanistan. Afghanistan needs foreign aids for another 20 years and it depends on foreign aids. Ashraf Ghani must resign from the government and a neutral person must come and take over the government affairs. Otherwise peace will not come. America and NATO countries fought against Taliban for twenty years, but they failed to win

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