Deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan has Kabul on ‘excessive alert’

Deadline for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan has Kabul on ‘high alert’

2021-05-01 21:03:35

Kabul safety was ramped up on Saturday as the town braced for response from the rebel Taliban as U.S. troops nonetheless current underneath President Joe Biden‘s orders, past the Could 1 withdrawal deadline agreed in 2020 with the Trump administration.

An elevated navy presence and safety at checkpoints had been seen within the Afghan capital, and a safety supply stated the town had been positioned on “excessive alert.” Navy patrols and safety had been being elevated in fundamental cities across the nation, the supply stated.

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Underneath the Trump administration’s February 2020 take care of the Taliban, overseas forces had been to withdraw from the nation by Could 1 whereas the Taliban held off on attacking overseas troops and bases. However President Biden introduced final month after reviewing the scenario that forces would keep within the nation for months past Could, withdrawing by Sept. 11.

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Violence in opposition to Afghans has escalated starkly in latest weeks, with greater than 100 Afghan safety drive personnel killed. On the eve of the beforehand agreed withdrawal deadline, an enormous blast in japanese Logar killed dozens as they broke their quick in the course of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan. It was not clear who was behind the assault.

The Taliban responded to the Biden administration’s transfer with fiery rhetoric and threatened penalties, boycotting a vital convention in Turkey scheduled for final month that had been deliberate to assist jumpstart stalling Afghan peace talks in Doha.

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Since then contacts have been maintained, official and Taliban sources say, in an effort to attempt to get the Taliban again to negotiating desk and conform to the prolonged overseas troop presence.

As of Saturday it was unclear whether or not concrete progress had been made and there had been no announcement on an extension.

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid stated on Twitter on Saturday that the passing deadline meant “this violation in precept has opened the best way for (Taliban fighters) to take each counter-action it deems acceptable in opposition to the occupying forces.”

However he added that fighters had been ready on the choice of Taliban management.

Earlier within the week Mujahid advised Reuters conversations had been persevering with.

“Discussions between the U.S. and Taliban and … throughout the Taliban’s management are underneath method whether or not to increase that or not,” he stated.

Washington has additionally warned that if overseas forces had been attacked whereas finishing up the withdrawal they’d defend themselves “with all of the instruments at our disposal.”

Specialists stated the Taliban threats needs to be taken critically, however a lot of components meant that full-scale assaults in opposition to overseas targets might be averted, because the Taliban continued negotiations.

“We will’t rule out assaults,” stated Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia Programme on the Woodrow Wilson Heart in Washington. “That stated, the Taliban is much less prone to assault overseas forces now that it is aware of there’s a particular date when they are going to be leaving.”


Within the lead as much as Could, sources stated there was a flurry of conferences negotiations continued with the Taliban to attempt to get them to conform to a deadline extension.

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The U.S. particular envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, had met with the Taliban’s head of political workplace, Mullah Baradar, in Doha, a Taliban spokesman stated on Friday.

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Additionally on Friday, the eve of the Could 1 deadline, envoys from Russia, China, Pakistan and america held conferences with Taliban officers and Afghan authorities negotiators within the Qatari capital. The Taliban stated they mentioned the peace course of and their request that Taliban leaders be faraway from sanctions lists.

Sources additionally stated {that a} delegation of Taliban political leaders had been in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad this week.

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Two Taliban sources and one official supply stated negotiations had revolved across the proposed deadline extension in alternate for america not getting concerned in Afghan navy operations in opposition to the Taliban; getting the Taliban to decide to re-joining the Turkey convention in the event that they had been supplied with an agenda on what could be mentioned there; and presumably declaring a ceasefire over the upcoming Eid vacation.

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Pakistan’s overseas workplace didn’t instantly reply to request for remark.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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