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Taliban Calls On U.S. To Remain Committed To Qatar Peace Deal

Taliban militants in Uruzgan on February 15.

The Taliban has called on the United States to honor an agreement under which all foreign forces are to leave Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for security guarantees from the militant group.

In a February 16 open letter addressed to the American people, the militant group called on Washington to remain fully committed to the agreement that was reached in Qatar a year ago and paved the way for ongoing intra-Afghan peace talks.

Reacting to the letter, Afghan Interior Ministry official Siddiq Siddiqui tweeted that the Taliban should stop fighting and start meaningful peace negotiations instead of pushing for the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

The administration of President Joe Biden has said that it is reviewing the U.S.-Taliban agreement to determine if the militant group is meeting its commitments, including reaching a cease-fire and engaging in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government.

Despite the launch of the peace talks between Afghan and Taliban negotiators in September 2020, violence has continued in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon last month accused the Taliban of failing to meet its commitments to reduce violence and to renounce its ties with Al-Qaeda.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (file photo)
Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (file photo)

"We urge the American side to remain committed to the full implementation of this accord," the letter signed by the group's deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar said.

"It is the responsibility and in the interest of all to bring an end to this war, and the implementation of the Doha agreement is the most effective way of ending it,” the letter added.

It comes a day ahead of a major NATO summit where the alliance is set to hold its highest-level talks since Biden took office vowing to work more closely with allies.

The war in Afghanistan and withdrawal plans are expected to be among the most pressing issues discussed during the summit.

The Taliban said that Afghans would reach an agreement among themselves and "achieve the establishment of an Islamic government."

The letter said that the group would not allow anyone to interfere in its country's affairs.

"Defending our land and people is our legitimate right," it said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on February 15 that the alliance would not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan "before the time is right.”

With reporting by AFP and dpa
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