Taliban call on US to honour withdrawal deal

Published February 17, 2021
This file photo shows Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar leaving after signing an agreement with the US during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha. — AFP/File
This file photo shows Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar leaving after signing an agreement with the US during a ceremony in the Qatari capital Doha. — AFP/File

KABUL: The Taliban on Tuesday urged the US to honour a landmark withdrawal deal under which all foreign troops would exit Afghanistan in the coming months, even as violence continues to rage in the war-ravaged nation.

In an 11-point statement, the insurgent group called for the Americans to stick to the agreement ironed out in Qatar last year that paved the way for ongoing peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government.

“We urge the American side to remain committed to the full implementation of this accord,” wrote the group’s co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in an open letter addressed to the American public.

“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 statement comes a day ahead of a major Nato summit where the alliance is set to hold its highest-level talks since US President Joe Biden took office vowing to work more closely with allies after four years of tensions under Donald Trump.

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

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday said the alliance would not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan “before the time is right”.

Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal, while the Pentagon has accused the Taliban of not fulfilling promises that include reducing attacks and cutting ties to insurgent groups such as Al Qaeda.

A study mandated by the US Congress has called for a delay in the pullout, warning it would effectively hand the Taliban a victory.

With the withdrawal deadline nearing, the Taliban have launched a string of offensives threatening at least two strategic provincial capitals in southern Afghanistan in recent months. The US and the Afghan government have also blamed the insurgents for a wave of deadly assassinations targeting journalists, politicians, judges and activists.

European human rights court backs Germany over Kunduz airstrike case

An investigation by Germany into a deadly 2009 airstrike near the Afghan city of Kunduz that was ordered by a German commander complied with its right-to-life obligations, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.The ruling by the Strasbourg-based court rejects a complaint by Afghan citizen Abdul Hanan, who lost two sons in the attack, that Germany did not fulfil its obligation to effectively investigate the incident.

In September 2009, the German commander of Nato troops in Kunduz called in a US fighter jet to strike two fuel trucks near the city which Nato believed had been hijacked by Taliban insurgents.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2021

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