MOSCOW (AP) – The Taliban warned Washington on Friday not to deny a May 1 withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, vowing to “respond”, which could mean an increase in insurgent attacks.
The Taliban warned at a news conference in Moscow the next day of a meeting between senior Afghan government negotiators and international observers to try to begin a failed peace process to end Afghanistan’s decades-long war.
The Biden administration says it is reviewing an agreement reached by the Taliban with the Trump administration. In an interview with ABC on Wednesday, Biden said the May 1 deadline “may happen, but it’s tough,” adding that if it was extended, it would not be “much longer.”
“They have to go,” Taliban negotiating team member Suhail Shahin told reporters, warning that staying out from May 1 would break the deal. “After that, it will be a kind of breach of contract. That violation would not be on our part. “Their violation will have a response.”
He did not elaborate on how the “response” would be, but in keeping with the agreement they signed in February 2020, the Taliban did not attack US or NATO forces, although there have been unsolicited bombings in recent months. targeted killings.
“We hope that will not happen for them to leave. We will focus on the settlement of the Afghan problem, the peaceful settlement, to establish a stable, comprehensive ceasefire at the end of the political roadmap in Afghanistan.” Ինahin said.
He reiterated that the Taliban are adamant about demanding an Islamic government. Ահahin did not specify what the Islamic government would look like or whether it would mean a return to the repressive rules that deny girls education, ban women from working, and impose harsh punishments.
Ահahin did not say whether the Taliban would accept the election, but stressed that the government of President Ashraf Ghani did not meet the Islamic State’s definition.
In previous statements, the Taliban said their vision for an Islamic government would allow girls to attend school and women to work or be in public. But during each conversation, they stressed the need to reverse Islamic orders without specifying what that meant.
They said they would not accept a woman as president, and although women could be judges, they could not be the chief judge.
But even without the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the Afghanistan Institute for Women, Peace and Security in Afghanistan said Afghanistan was one of the worst places in the world to be a woman in 2020.
Only one woman took part in talks in Moscow on Thursday,, In the two decades since the fall of the Taliban, the next governments in Kabul have failed to pass a law banning violence against women.
At the same time, the Taliban refused to promise to launch a spring offensive despite calls from the United States, Russia and China.
“I started iha ihad (holy war) to remove foreign forces from my country and establish an Islamic government. J ihad will continue until we reach that goal through political agreement,” said Khairullah Khairkhva, a member of the negotiating team who was one five Taliban fighters released from Guantanamo Bay prison in 2013 in exchange for the release of a captured American soldier.
Washington has been at war with Afghanistan for nearly two decades since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The invasion toppled the Taliban regime, but the 20-year war in Afghanistan turned America into the longest-running conflict in the United States.
The Taliban, which used to impose a tough brand on Islam during its rule, now controls half of the country. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has warned that the insurgents could achieve even more without the deployment of US and NATO troops.
The Moscow conference was attended by US peace envoy Almay Khalilzad, head of the National Reconciliation Council of Afghanistan Abdullah Abdullah, and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Hani Ani Baradar, who led the 10-member delegation. Representatives of Pakistan, Iran, India and China also took part.
In a statement issued after the talks, Russia, the United States and China said in a statement that “Pakistan is urging the warring parties to reduce the level of violence in the country, in particular urging the Taliban not to launch a spring offensive.”
The joint statement stressed that the four countries do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan, which is similar to the former Taliban government.
Ինahin stressed that the Taliban will remain committed to the goal of building an Islamic state. He insisted that Afghans should decide for themselves what their government should do without outside interference. He added that the ongoing talks in Doha should help determine the structure of future governance.
Talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Qatar have stalled, but Russia hopes talks in Moscow can help revitalize them.
Associated Press writer Rahim Fayez has invested in Kabul, Afghanistan. Gannon reported from Islamabad.