Deal Meant To End War in Afghanistan Seen To Embolden Taliban
Stars & Stripes
By J.P. LAWRENCE
KABUL, Afghanistan – The drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has encouraged the Taliban’s belief that they are closer than ever to victory, analysts and fighters said, one year after a deal was signed with the militant group meant to bring peace to the country.
On Feb. 29, U.S. and Taliban representatives gathered in Doha, Qatar, to sign an agreement that would allow for the withdrawal of American troops in exchange for concessions by the militants.
The concessions included opening peace talks with the government in Kabul and preventing extremist groups like al-Qaida from using the country to launch attacks on America and its allies.
But a year later, a peaceful end to the bloodshed remains elusive, with the increasingly emboldened Taliban escalating their attacks on government forces, still maintaining ties with al-Qaida, and remaining unlikely to compromise in negotiations, a recent report to Congress said.
“The Taliban’s military momentum and the continued drawdown of U.S. troops have reinforced the Taliban’s narrative of its political and military ascendancy,” the report by the Lead Inspector General for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel said.
President Joe Biden’s administration is reviewing the deal with the Taliban, with some U.S. policymakers calling for a renegotiation of the agreement ahead of a May 1 deadline to pull all troops from the country. Some 2,500 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan at about a dozen bases, alongside 9,600 NATO troops and around 18,000 civilian contractors.
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