Wednesday Apr 07, 2021
KABUL: To make a sound decision related to Afghanistan and withdrawal of US forces from the country, US President Joe Biden “wants to take more time and advice”, says White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Psaki said: “It will be tough to meet the May 1 deadline for full withdrawal, for logistical reasons.”
“We are continuing — he’s continuing to consult internally with his national security team and advisers and, of course, also with our partners and allies,” she added.
All US forces stationed in Afghanistan must leave the country by May as per the US-Taliban peace agreement signed on February 2020.
However, sources close to the Taliban have said that the Biden administration has asked the Taliban to agree on the presence of the US forces for another three or six months.
Last week, the US special envoy for Afghanistan’s reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with senior Taliban leaders including Mullah Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
According to Tolo News, both parties met to discuss provisions of the US-Taliban peace agreement, including the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, according to the Taliban’s spokesperson Mohammad Naeem.
Meanwhile, sources close to the Taliban said that the United States reportedly asked them to agree to the continued presence of American forces for three or six months in Afghanistan after the May 1 deadline.
The Taliban has so far not made their final decision about the request; however, the group has apparently insisted that first their 7,000 prisoners should be released, and names of Taliban officials should be dropped from the UN blacklist, the sources added.
In this regard, an UN-led conference on Afghanistan is expected to be held in Turkey this month.
Sources familiar with the matter have said that two dates – April 12 and 16 – are under discussion by involved parties for the meeting that some have said will continue for 10 days.
In the meantime, senior political leaders and government officials are reviewing over 25 peace proposals, including that of the Presidential Palace, to make a unified peace roadmap for the upcoming conference in Turkey.
The peace proposals have been sent by political parties to the council. The 15-member committee is also reviewing views from 30 members of the council about the peace proposals.