The Taliban on Friday denied Washington’s allegations of failure to keep promises in Afghanistan, claiming again that the US had “bombed civilians”.
The US signed a landmark treaty with the insurgents last year, agreeing to withdraw all of its troops from the country in order to obtain security guarantees following a battlefield stalemate.
“The other side violated the agreement almost every day it violated it,” Mohammad Naeem, a Taliban spokesman in Qatar, told AFP.
“They bomb civilians, houses and villages, and we have informed them from time to time that these are not only violations of the agreement, but also human rights violations.”
The US military has launched air strikes against Taliban fighters in defense of the Afghan armed forces in some provinces in recent months.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid added on Twitter that the allegations against the group were “unfounded” and that it was “fully committed” to the agreement.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters Thursday that the Biden administration remains committed to the Taliban-US deal and ends the war “responsibly.”
However, he said: “The Taliban are failing to meet their commitments to reduce violence and renounce their ties to al-Qaeda.”
“We are still involved in finding a negotiated solution,” he added.
The agreement signed in Doha last year called on the Taliban to stop attacks on US forces, greatly reduce the level of violence in the country and press ahead with peace talks with the government in Kabul.
In return, the United States would steadily reduce its troop strength in the country and remove all armed forces by May 2021.
Kirby said the US Department of Defense is happy with the current level of 2,500 US troops in the country, down from just under 13,000 a year ago.
It is enough to carry out the main US mission to counteract the Islamic State operating in Afghanistan and the al-Qaeda forces, he said.
But he wouldn’t say if the Pentagon will complete a full withdrawal before the May deadline.
Much depends on whether the Taliban and the Afghan government, which started peace talks in September, can negotiate an agreement.
Violence has increased in the country, which has been exposed to a new trend of targeted murders since the talks began.
“I would tell Taliban leaders that … their reluctance to commit to sensible, sustainable and credible negotiations at the table makes it all the more difficult to make final decisions about the presence of armed forces,” Kirby said .
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)