By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said Tuesday that the US deadline, May 1, for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan may have to be reconsidered as the Taliban are not abiding by all of their commitments under the Doha deal.
“I am very concerned about the viability of the peace process in Afghanistan,” Menendez said.
Reuters reported Menendez stated that he believes the Taliban is “clearly not abiding” by all of the commitments it made in the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha in February last year.
Currently, there are about 2,500 US soldiers in Afghanistan. “If the Taliban are confirmed as not meeting their commitments, which I personally believe they’re not, then we may have to reconsider the May 1 deadline,” Menendez said.
This comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed a new peace plan last week.
In a letter to Afghan leaders and the Taliban, Blinken suggested the establishment of a transitional government. It has since emerged that according to the plan, the Taliban would be given a 50 percent representation in the proposed system.
The proposal was however met by mixed reactions among Afghan officials.
First Vice President Amrullah Saleh stated that Afghanistan will never accept demands that could jeopardize the people’s right to vote. He said the letter “shameful” and that he will “resist it”. “Let me be clear I will not sign it,” VP Saleh said. He also stated that the people of Afghanistan will not accept what he called a “forced and imposed peace on the people of Afghanistan”.
“One of the articles is to form a supreme council for the enforcement of Sharia [law]. In the county where we have several scholars like Imam Abu Hanifa; now two people who graduated from Haqqania School will hand over a certificate of Islam to us.
I will never sign at the bottom of that shameful document,” said VP Saleh.
“We have the right not to hang the fate of 35 million people on someone else’s schedule,” he said adding that “Americans and their Western allies have every right to decide the fate of 2,500 U.S. and a few thousand NATO troops now stationed in our country.”