A spokesman told Al Jazeera that if Washington retains 650 troops after the Sept. 11 deadline, it will be a “clear violation” of the deal.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview that the armed group has the “right to react” if the United States still maintains troops in Afghanistan after 9/11, when the withdrawal has to finish.
U.S. officials told The Associated Press on Thursday that about 650 U.S. troops were expected to remain in Afghanistan to provide security for diplomats after Washington withdrew its forces to end its presence. 20-year military in the country.
In response to the report, Shaheen told Al Jazeera’s Osha Bin Javaid in Doha that if the United States did, it would violate a agreement with the goal of ending the longest-running U.S. war between Washington and the Taliban in the Qatari capital in February 2020.
“We have signed the Doha agreement and it was negotiated with the US side for 18 months. They have agreed and are committed to withdrawing all their military forces, advisers and contractors from Afghanistan, ”Shaheen said.
“I think it’s a clear violation of that agreement,” he added.
“If they stay here, I think it’s a kind of continuation of employment. They have violated and we have every right to react, ”Shaheen said.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced in mid-April plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan before 9/11, adding several months to the May 1 deadline. in the agreement between the administration of his predecessor, Donald Trump, and the Taliban after talks that excluded the Afghan government.
The final withdrawal of soldiers ordered by Biden began on May 1, when the number of American soldiers was between 2,500 and 3,500, and could be completed on July 4. All international troops, including 7,000 NATO soldiers, are due to march on 9/11. .
Shaheen told Al Jazeera that the Taliban had pledged to provide a safe passage for U.S. forces when they withdrew from Afghanistan and that the armed group would not attack them.
“We stayed true to that,” Shaheen said.
“We did not attack them during their withdrawal. Even [when] they violated the May 1 total withdrawal from Afghanistan, although we have not attacked them while we are able to do so. “
Fears of a government collapse
The withdrawal comes amid considerable territorial gains made by the Taliban since the start of the U.S.-NATO withdrawal, raising fears that the Afghan government and its military could collapse in months.
The Taliban have overwhelmed dozens of districts, while intensifying their assaults on government positions.
Speaking in Paris on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that attacks on Afghan forces were on the rise and that Washington was assessing whether peace plans were realistic.
“We are looking very closely at the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and we are also looking very closely at whether the Taliban are serious about the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Blinken said.
“We remain committed to diplomacy, but the actions that the country is trying to take by force are, of course, totally incompatible with finding a peaceful resolution.”