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Taliban Calls On U.S. President-Elect Biden To Stick To Doha Peace Deal

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (bottom right) speaks at the opening session of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha on September 12.

KABUL -- The Taliban has called on U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to stick to a February peace agreement between the militant group and the United States, describing its implementation as the "the most reasonable and effective tool" for ending the war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban itself remains committed to the deal's implementation, the militant group said in a statement on November 10, a day after Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danesh blamed the insurgents for a lack of process in the ongoing intra-Afghan peace negotiations in the Qatari capital, Doha.

The Taliban is "the main obstacle" for progress in the talks with representatives from the Afghan government, Danesh said, adding that the group does not believe in a peaceful solution to the decades-long war.

He also said the Biden administration should review the Afghan peace process.

Biden will be inaugurated in January after clinching the U.S. presidency following a November 3 presidential election.

The intra-Afghan talks follow the deal signed by the United States and the Taliban in Doha in February, under which foreign forces are to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for the Taliban committing to cut ties with Al-Qaeda and other international militant groups.

The Taliban also agreed to negotiate a permanent cease-fire and a power-sharing formula with the Afghan government.

No breakthrough has been reported in Doha since Afghan government representatives and the Taliban inaugurated the negotiations in September, while violence has been ramping up throughout Afghanistan with the militant fighters attacking provincial capitals, in some case prompting U.S. air strikes.

Some have also raised questions over Al-Qaeda's links with the Taliban, with United Nations monitors saying in a report released in June that the two continued to maintain ties.

On November 10, Afghanistan's intelligence agency announced the death of a senior regional Al-Qaeda member in the southwestern province of Farah, and accused the Taliban of providing him "safe haven and protection."

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said Mohammad Hanif was a close aide to Asim Omar, who headed Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent and was killed in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation in last year.

The agency said Hanif, originally from Karachi, had helped train militants in making car bombs and improvised explosive devices."

He was initially a member of the Taliban, but joined Al-Qaeda in 2010, according to the NDS.

The Taliban have not commented the announcement, which comes after Afghan security forces last month killed a senior Al-Qaeda militant long-wanted by the United States.

With reporting by Reuters and TOLOnews
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