Afghanistan: why the Taliban can’t be defeated | The Economist
Sources: International contingent may remain in Afghanistan after May deadline
International troops plan to remain in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline in the US-Taliban agreement, four senior NATO officials said..
This situation could heighten tensions with the Taliban demanding a full withdrawal..
“There will be no full withdrawal of troops by the allies by the end of April,” one source told Reuters.
“The conditions were not met,” he said on a condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the issue. “In addition, with the arrival of the new American administration, policy adjustments will be made, there will no longer be the feeling of hasty withdrawal that prevailed, and we will be able to see a much more calculated exit strategy.”.
The Trump administration signed an agreement with the Taliban early last year to withdraw foreign troops by May in exchange for the movement’s compliance with certain security guarantees..
The Afghan government was not a party to the agreement. Trump hailed it as the end of a nearly twenty year war. By this month, he has reduced the number of American troops to 2,500, the lowest since 2001..
Plans for the post-April period are likely to be the main issue at a key NATO meeting in February, alliance sources said..
“None of the NATO members want to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, but we made it clear that our presence depends on conditions,” said NATO spokesman Oana Lungescu.
NATO continues to call on all parties to “seize this historic opportunity to achieve peace,” she said.
Joe Biden’s administration, who succeeded Trump on January 20, began to review the peace agreement concluded by his predecessor.
A Pentagon spokesman said the Taliban have not honored their commitments, but that Washington remains committed to the process and has not yet decided on the future troop strength..
A State Department spokesman said Biden is committed to “ending "eternal wars", while protecting Americans from terrorist and other threats “.
Afghan President’s Office did not respond to request for comment.
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