Biden admin supports talks aimed at finding political settlement to war in Afghanistan

The Biden administration is having a hard look at the extent to which the Taliban are complying with the conditions of the peace agreement and supports the negotiations between the stakeholders to find a durable political settlement to the long-standing conflict in Afghanistan, a top US official has said.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Friday the Biden administration supports the previous Trump administration’s decision of setting up negotiations between the stakeholders in Afghanistan.

The Trump administration signed the peace deal with Taliban in February last year in Doha. The accord drew up plans for withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees from the insurgent group. As part of the deal, the US committed to withdraw its 12,000 troops within 14 months. There are currently only 2,500 American troops left in the country.

The Taliban committed to prevent other groups, including al Qaeda, from using Afghan soil to recruit, train or fund raise toward activities that threaten the US or its allies.

“In that context, we will make decisions about our force posture and our diplomatic strategy going forward,” Sullivan said.

“What the previous administration did in terms of setting up and supporting negotiations between the stakeholders in Afghanistan toward a just, durable political settlement to that conflict, that basic frame is something that we very much support,” he said at an event organised by the US Institute of Peace, a Congress-funded think-tank.

“We want to support negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban and others to get to that just and sustainable outcome in addition to looking at the US-Taliban agreement and what it means for our forces going forward,” Sullivan said.

Although the Taliban stopped attacks on international forces as part of the historic deal, it continued to fight the Afghan government. As a condition of starting talks with the Afghan government, the Taliban demanded that thousands of their members be released in a prisoner swap.

Direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in Doha in September last year, but a breakthrough is yet to be reached.

Levels of violence in Afghanistan remain high with journalists, activists, politicians and women judges among those killed in targeted assassinations.

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