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Pentagon Says Taliban 'Not Meeting Their Commitments' Under Afghan Peace Deal

An Afghan security official inspects the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Kandahar on December 7, 2020.

The Pentagon says the Taliban are not complying with commitments the militant group reached with the United States last year under an Afghan peace accord.

"The Taliban are not meeting their commitments to reduce violence, and to renounce their ties to Al-Qaeda," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters on January 28.

"Without them meeting their commitments to renounce terrorism and to stop the violent attacks on the Afghan National Security's very hard to see a specific way forward for the negotiated settlement, but we're still committed to that," Kirby said.

Under a U.S.-Taliban deal reached in February 2020, all foreign forces are to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees from the militant group, including severing ties with Al-Qaeda.

The agreement committed the Taliban to halt attacks on U.S. forces, decrease violence in the country, and advance peace talks with the government in Kabul.

Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have made halting progress since direct talks began in Qatar in the autumn against the backdrop of rising violence and calls for the militant group to agree to a cease-fire.

Kirby said the current level of 2,500 U.S. troops in the country is enough to carry out the main mission to counter the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda forces operating in Afghanistan.

He would not say whether the Pentagon would cut troop levels to zero by the May deadline.

"The secretary [of defense] has been very clear, and President [Joe] Biden has too, it's time to end this war, but we want to do it responsibly, we want to do it in keeping with our national security interests and those of our Afghan partners," Kirby said.

Last week, U.S. national-security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States intends to review the agreement former President Donald Trump's administration reached with the Taliban in order to determine if the militant group is meeting its commitments.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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