Biden Administration To Review US-Taliban Deal

(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.

Washington- The Biden administration has said it will review the US-Taliban deal to assess whether the militant group is reducing violence in keeping with its side of the agreement in the Afghan peace accord.

During a telephonic conversation with his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan underscored that the US will support the peace process with a robust and regional diplomatic effort, "which will aim to help the two sides achieve a durable and just political settlement and permanent ceasefire", National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said on Friday.

"Sullivan also made clear 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 negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders," she said.

The Trump administration had signed the peace deal with Taliban in February last in Doha. The accord drew up plans for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees from the insurgent group. As part of the deal, the US committed to withdraw its 12,000 troops within 14 months. There are currently only 2,500 American troops left in the country.

The Taliban committed to prevent other groups, including Al Qaeda, from using Afghan soil to recruit, train or fund raise toward activities that threaten the US or its allies.

Although the Taliban stopped attacks on international forces as part of the historic deal, it continued to fight the Afghan government. As a condition of starting talks with the Afghan government, the Taliban demanded that thousands of their members be released in a prisoner swap.

Direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in Doha in September last year, but a breakthrough is yet to be reached.

Levels of violence in Afghanistan remain high with journalists, activists, politicians and women judges among those killed in targeted assassinations.

During the call with Mohib, Sullivan discussed US support for protecting the "extraordinary gains" made by Afghan women, girls and minority groups as part of the peace process.

Under the Taliban's rule in the 1990s, women were not allowed to do studies or work.

Sullivan committed to consulting closely with the Afghan government, NATO allies and regional partners regarding a collective strategy to support a stable, sovereign and secure future for the war-torn country.

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