Afghan government says US withdrawal leaves country in uncharted territory
New Delhi, Apr 16 (EFE).- Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib said on Friday that the country was in “uncharted territory” after the United States announced earlier this week that it would withdraw its troops from the country by Sep. 11.
“We are in uncharted territory, there is a lot of uncertainty, the devil is going to be in the details of what we negotiate with the US and NATO as we facilitate a transition,” Mohib said in a virtual speech during the Raisina Dialog, a political and economic forum organized by the Indian government.
The Afghan official shared a session in the forum with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Mohib said that despite the uncertainty, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces had carried out 94 percent of the operations against the Taliban since the insurgents signed a historic peace agreement with the US in February 2020.
This proves that Afghanistan “does not need US combat troops on the ground,” as the Taliban cannot win the war through violence, he said.
Zarif said that the US withdrawal was “positive” for the country’s progress but “the Taliban should not use the opportunity to increase violence.”
“They need to respect the vision of the people of Afghanistan that enough is enough,” said the Iranian minister, adding that the priority in the country was to reach an inclusive peace, where the insurgents can be a part but cannot be fully in control.
He expressed doubts whether the Taliban had changed since being ousted from power in 2001, but insisted that Afghanistan had definitely evolved and that the democratic institutions of the country developed by the Afghan people during the past 20 years should remain in place.
“If the Taliban want to go back to the 1990s, (…) they cannot. Now we live in another Afghanistan, it includes rights for minorities and these are important development that we cannot forget,” Zarif said.
Meanwhile Jaishankar stressed the importance of ties with Afghanistan’s neighbors to combat the threat of terrorism.
“Everybody agrees that peace is a collective interest, a lack of violence is a collective interest,” said the minister, adding that he believed in “a strong Indo-Afghan friendship” which can “ensure the best interests of Afghanistan’s people.”
The three leaders insisted that the Afghanistan of 2021 was much different from that of 20 years ago, and therefore the Taliban should use the opportunity to come to the dialog table instead of rejecting agreements.
US President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that Washington would withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by Sep. 11, although the original deadline in the Doha agreement was May 1.
The decision has infuriated the Taliban, who have threatened to resume attacks against international forces and not participate in peace negotiations if the US does not pull out troops before May. EFE