Taliban-US Peace Deal Near Breaking Point

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(L to R) US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar shake hands after signing a peace agreement during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha on February 29, 2020.

Islamabad: The Taliban said their peace deal with the United States was nearing a breaking point, accusing Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while also chastising the Afghan government for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners promised in the agreement.

The Taliban said they had restricted attacks against Afghan security forces to rural outposts, had not attacked international forces and had not attacked Afghan forces in cities or military installations. The Taliban said these limits on their attacks had not been specifically laid out in the agreement with the U.S. signed in February.

The Taliban’s statement issued Sunday warned of more violence if the U.S. and the Afghan government continue alleged violations of the deal.

U.S. military spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett in a tweet overnight denied the Taliban allegation, saying the U.S. forces in Afghanistan has “upheld and continues to uphold the military terms of the U.S.-TB (Taliban) agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless.”

In his tweet, Leggett called for Taliban to reduce violence and said the U.S. military will continue to come to the aid of Afghanistan’s security forces if attacked, in line with the agreement.

Meanwhile, the militants said they had reduced their attacks compared to last year, but said continued violations would “create an atmosphere of mistrust that will not only damage the agreements, but also force mujaheddin to a similar response and will increase the level of fighting.”

 

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