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Taliban political chief warns US to withdraw as per Doha agreement

The Talibanís political chief, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, warned on Sunday that the group "would make the necessary decisions" if the US failed to leave Afghanistan within the timeline agreed to earlier this year.

In an interview with Iranís Tasnim news agency, Baradar said the US-Taliban agreement, signed earlier this year in Doha, stipulated the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within a 14-month timeline.

The results of the implementation of the Doha agreement with the US have been positive so far. In the first stage, the US announced it has evacuated five military bases, and the number of American troops has been reduced to 8,600, as this process continues," he told Tasnim.

"However, if the foreign forces do not leave Afghanistan on schedule, the Islamic Emirate will make the necessary decisions," the Talibanís political chief warned.

On intra-Afghan talks for the peace process in Afghanistan, Baradar underlined that there is no hidden agreement between the group and the US.

The Taliban insist that the Afghan government "should release the Islamic Emirate prisoners according to the Doha agreement to prepare the ground for the launch of intra-Afghan negotiations", he said.

"The release of all 5,000 Taliban prisoners is the precondition for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations," Baradar stated.

On the issue of power, he said the Taliban sought the establishment of an inclusive Islamic administration and did not want a monopoly of power.

"All Afghans have the right to be involved in serving and safeguarding the Islamic establishment and their country," he concluded.

This comes after a week of challenges around the prisoner swap issue. So far the Afghan government has released 4,400 prisoners but is not happy about freeing the remaining 600 - as per the Doha agreement.

Two days ago, acting foreign minister, Hanif Atmar, said in an interview that the Afghan government would not release the remaining 600 prisoners as they had been involved in "unjustifiable war crimes and smuggling."

He in turn also said that the obstacles to the start of intra-Afghan talks were the prisoner-release issue and the high levels of violence by the Taliban.

Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday, during a visit to the western province of Nimroz, that when intra-Afghan talks start, the Afghan government will enter the negotiations from a position of strength.

He also said he would "not compromise on the republic. I will not compromise on Afghanistan. We are proud of the republic."

Intra-Afghan talks are expected to start in the near future but no date has yet been set.

However, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad started a five-nation trip on Friday. His first stop was Doha.

In Kabul and Doha, Khalilzad will press for resolution of the remaining issues ahead of the intra-Afghan negotiations, specifically final prisoner exchanges and reduced violence, according to a statement by the US Department of State.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/19731


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