Taliban warn Peace Deal with US near Breaking Point
The Taliban said their peace affect the us was nearing a verge of collapse , accusing Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while also chastising the Afghan government for delaying the discharge of 5,000 Taliban prisoners promised within the agreement.
The Taliban broke off talks over a prisoner exchange with the Afghan government Tuesday. The exchange was a key step within the peace talks brokered by the US after it agreed a troop withdrawal pact with the militant group.
The Taliban’s technical team would not participate in “fruitless meetings,” spokesman Suhail Shaheen wrote on Twitter shortly after midnight on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, their release has been delayed under one pretext or another,” he wrote. “Therefore, our technical team won’t participate in fruitless meetings ranging from tomorrow.”
Washington signed a affect the Taliban in late February that required the Afghan government – which wasn’t a signatory to the accord – to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners, and for the armed group to release 1,000 pro-government captives reciprocally .
The pact between the us and therefore the Taliban, under which US-led international forces will withdraw in exchange for Taliban security guarantees, is seen because the best chance yet of ending the 18-year war.
The militants had been engaged in talks with the Afghan government since last week over the prisoner swap, which was supposed to take place on March 10. The exchange was set to create confidence between the 2 sides for peace talks. “We ask the Taliban to not sabotage the method by making excuses now,” said Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council in Kabul.
Last week, Afghan officials indicated they were willing to release prisoners who were sick or over the age of 50. In return, the Taliban would release around 20 members of Afghan security forces. There are concerns that the talks breaking down could lead to a further escalation in violence.
Matin Bek, a member of the government’s negotiating team, said the discharge had been delayed because the Taliban are demanding the discharge of 15 “top commanders”. “We cannot release the killers of our people,” Bek told reporters on Monday. “We don’t need them to travel back to the battlefield and capture an entire province.”
Bek added that the govt was able to release up to 400 low-threat Taliban prisoners as a goodwill gesture reciprocally for a “considerable” reduction in violence, but the Taliban rejected that offer. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Pompeo last month travelled to Kabul and therefore the Qatari capital of Doha during a bid to nudge the prisoner exchange process forward.
Meanwhile, within the Afghan capital, President Ashraf Ghani announced his new Cabinet whilst he squabbles together with his main political challenger over last year’s election results. Ghani’s move came whilst Afghan mediators, including former President Hamid Karzai, shuttled between the president and his opponent, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who has also declared himself Afghanistan’s president.
The country’s Independent committee has declared Ghani a winner, but Abdullah and therefore the Elections Complaint Commission have charged widespread irregularities. Attempts to barter an end to the political turmoil roiling Kabul have made little progress, frustrating the U.S. and potentially derailing the next stage in the Afghan peace process. Washington has threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid this year if Ghani and Abdullah can’t reach a compromise.
The Trump administration wants a fast start to intra-Afghan negotiations, subsequent step within the peace deal it signed on Feb. 29. It looked promising when Ghani announced his negotiating team last week, but Abdullah’s response thereto has been lukewarm and therefore the Taliban have rejected it as one-sided.