By: Lailuma Noori
Taliban in a new step has opposed holding the coming Istanbul conference in the month of April. The group has suggested that the conference should be held after the holy month of Ramadan. Previously, a kind of partial agreement had been made for holding the conference in early April.
So far, other sides to the conference have not commented on the Taliban suggestion. The option suggested by the Taliban has not seemed to be implementable. According to the group’s suggestion, a proper date for holding the conference is the month May. On this month, coalition forces will have been withdrawn from Afghanistan based on the US – Taliban deal.
The new Taliban suggestion to delay the Istanbul conference is in fact for the US commitment to the Doha agreement. The group by suggesting a change in the date of the conference wants to receive a clear response whether US troops withdraw from Afghanistan on 1st May or not.
If the group receives a positive response, they will participate in the Istanbul conference. If the US troop withdrawal process does not happen until the 1st of May, representatives of the Taliban negotiating team will probably avoid participating the Istanbul conference. If they do participate in the conference, their tone for negotiation with Afghanistan government side will be different. For time being, the Taliban group is waiting to see what US wants to do until the month of May and what the group should decide in case US not withdraws from Afghanistan.
Although US intelligence agencies had previously warned the Joe Biden administration that early US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan would pave the way for Taliban to take over Afghanistan within 2-3 years.
US President Joe Biden in his recent remarks said it will be hard to meet the May 1 deadline for getting troops out of Afghanistan for “tactical reasons.”
He said: “It is not my intention to stay there for a long time. The question is how and under what circumstances do we meet that agreement that was made by President Trump.
To be under a deal that looks like it is not able to be worked out to begin with.”
On the other hand, Germany has extended its troops presence under NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan for another year. The Germany’s government declaration for extension of the troop sends the message that US and NATO will also stay for some period of time in Afghanistan.
Previously, US and NATO had said that their troop withdrawal from Afghanistan depends on progress of the intra-Afghan talks between Afghanistan government and Taliban. Their decision seems logical as the situation in the ground is not good.
The United States agreed in the deal to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by May 1st and the Taliban committed to cutting their ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups and to not allow terrorist groups to operate on Afghan soil.