Just days after the new administration, led by US President Joe Biden, took charge in the United States, the country made it clear it would review the US-Taliban deal, signed last year by the Trump Administration
Just days after the new administration, led by US President Joe Biden, took charge in the United States, the country made it clear it would review the US-Taliban deal, signed last year by the Trump Administration. The announcement came after new US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had a phone call with his Afghan counterpart Hamidullah Mohib.
“The United States intention to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement, including to assess whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiation with the Afghan government and the other stakeholders,” reads a statement released by the US National Security Council.
Under the US-Taliban agreement, signed on 29 February last year, the Taliban gave counterterrorism assurances, including to cutting its ties with terrorist groups, and a commitment to engage with the Afghan government for a power-sharing agreement in exchange for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan by May 2021.
During his call to the Afghan NSA, Sullivan also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to “US-Afghan partnership, and to peace for all the people of Afghanistan.” The US NSA also said his country would support the peace process with “robust and regional diplomatic support” for achieving durable peace.
Significantly, he also extended US support to protect the “extraordinary gains made by Afghan women, girls, and minority groups” during the peace process.
The statement further said the US will closely consult the Afghan government, NATO allies, and regional partners for the secure, sovereign, and stable future of Afghanistan. Hours before his phone call with Afghan NSA, NATO Secretary-General John Stoltenberg also talked to US defense secretary Lloyd Austin.
The latest move by the US is unlikely to go down well with the Taliban whose primary reason to engage in the Intra-Afghan talks/peace process was the US' commitment to the withdrawal of the foreign forces from the country. If the US government decides to retain some of its troops in Afghanistan, the possibility of the Taliban renewing its attacks on foreign forces can’t be discounted.
Recently, Laurel Miller, the former US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, also wrote in a piece in Foreign Affairs magazine, “Having gained and then lost a US commitment to withdraw, the Taliban would, once again, violently contest any US presence.”
She further said if the Taliban goes back to fighting the US, they would have little incentive to cut their ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
NATO, which is scheduled to hold the annual meeting of defense ministers in February, would take a call next month on whether to retain its troops in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shafi Mehmood Qureshi earlier asked the Biden administration not to “reverse the process,” saying for the first time things are moving in “the right direction.” With all likelihood, any revision of the last year’s Doha deal by the US will face resistance from Pakistan’s establishment.