The Afghan government and the Taliban have traded accusations of responsibility for the escalation of the security and military situation, despite the American army’s withdrawal of its forces from the country a few days ago, at a time when the US envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad warned the Taliban against seizing power after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
The head of the Afghan government negotiation delegation, Muhammad Masum Stankzai, said that the Taliban movement was expected to return to the negotiating table after the United States announced the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, but, contrary to general expectations, it resorted to security and military escalation in separate areas of the country.
Stankzai asked on his Twitter account who was behind this war, adding that the Taliban should think responsibly about peace because it is the only way to save Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Muhammad Naim, a spokesman for the political bureau of the Taliban and a member of the movement’s delegation to the negotiations, held the Afghan government and whoever described it as foreign parties responsible for escalation and obstruction of peace talks.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Naim added that the Afghan government has not abided by its commitments.
In a related context, the US special envoy to Afghanistan said that if the Taliban seized power by force, the United States would not accept this and would stand by the Kabul government, and Khalilzad added, in statements to a Tajik radio station, that it would be better for both sides to reach peace through dialogue, He also praised the role of the State of Qatar in the Afghan talks.
The so-called international troika, made up of Russia, China and the United States, warned that “any Taliban attacks on our forces during the withdrawal of the allies’ forces will be met with a strong response,” adding that “the withdrawal of international forces should not be an excuse for the Taliban to suspend peace negotiations.” To the Government of Qatar for its long-term contribution to facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan.
For his part, the White House said in a press briefing on Thursday that “Washington’s opponents must know that it will defend itself if it is attacked during the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” and stressed that the withdrawal is underway and that everything will be completed by next September, as President Joe Biden said.
In turn, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the withdrawal of his country’s army from Afghanistan is proceeding according to plan. Austin added, in a press conference held yesterday at the Pentagon headquarters in Washington, that the US military will start new bilateral relations with its security partners in Afghanistan to achieve what he described as common goals between the two sides.
On the same issue, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said that the United States had deployed more than 10 additional fighters to enhance the protection of its forces and coalition forces during the withdrawal process from Afghanistan.
It is noteworthy that, almost 20 years after the US invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of Taliban rule in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, US President Joe Biden ordered last month the withdrawal of 2,500 American troops and 16,000 civilian contractors permanently from this country.
Biden set a deadline for withdrawal on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks this year.