On the eve of a key NATO teleconference on Afghanistan, the Taliban’s deputy chief Tuesday urged the US to abide by last year’s Qatar deal and ensure the withdrawal of troops.
“Our country and people are facing an ‘imposed war.’ Ending this war is the responsibility of all and in the interest of all, and the best way to end it is through full implementation of the Doha agreement [reached in February 2020],” said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
In an open letter published by the group’s propaganda site Al-Emarah, Baradar reiterated the Taliban’s resolve to abide by the terms of the deal and not pose a threat to global peace. In return, he demanded the US put an end to its longest war.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [Taliban] is aware of its responsibilities, other parties must also fulfill their responsibilities,” he stressed.
In the 11-point letter, Baradar also pledged to ensure press freedom, women’s rights, and actions against poppy cultivation in Afghanistan.
Under the 2020 deal, which calls for the withdrawal of all foreign troops by this May, the US has cut its troop deployment in Afghanistan to around 2,500. The Afghan government has freed over 5,000 Taliban prisoners as well.
*Open letter to the people of the United States of America* pic.twitter.com/Ni7nDevgYe
— Tariq Ghazniwal (@TGhazniwal) February 16, 2021
The pact seems to be under threat due to rising violence. Washington and Kabul blame the Taliban for the growing violence, which they deny.
Baradar’s letter comes just a day ahead of NATO’s defense ministers’ teleconference that could decide the fate of its military mission in Afghanistan.
Pointing to an “unacceptable level” of violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told German Welt am Sonntag that the US troops’ withdrawal risks turning Afghanistan into a “safe haven for terrorists” again.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk