Afghanistan: Taliban rejects US peace plan, six-month extension on troops withdrawal deadline

Kabul: Taliban have rejected the United States’ plan to restore peace in Afghanistan as well as the proposed six-month delay in the withdrawal of the American troops.

The message was published in English on the Taliban’s Voice of Jihad website, which produces media in multiple languages for the group’s Islamic Emirate, according to American news website FDD’s Long War Journal.

“The Islamic Emirate responded firmly to Biden’s comments and announced that if the occupying forces do not leave by the agreed-upon date, then attacks shall resume,” the Taliban warns, repeating an earlier threat to attack American and NATO forces should they fail to depart by May 1.

“Any deal made with the Taliban regarding a six-month extension is also of no benefit,” Taliban’s men write. Afghanistan has been marred by insurgency for two decades. Along with the continuous violence, the political dysfunction has worsened the situation and made it impossible to attain peace in the war-ravaged nation.

Time is running out on a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan in keeping with a deal the administration of former US President Donald Trump made with the Taliban more than a year ago.

Doha agreement was signed in February 2020 between the Taliban and United States with an aim to end the 18-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

The agreement calls for a full US withdrawal from Afghanistan if the terror group upholds counterterrorism commitments such as denying safe haven to al Qaeda.

President Joe Biden is considering keeping US troops in Afghanistan until November, rather than withdrawing them by a May 1 deadline outlined in the Doha agreement.

Last month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave both the Taliban and the Afghan government an eight-page proposed peace plan, which they were to discuss and revise before coming to Turkey to cobble together an agreement.

Blinken’s peace plan called for the protection of the rights of women and minorities and allowed for constitutional reform. It also called for the establishment of an interim administration.

The plan also included the setting up of an Islamic Advisory Council which would advise on all laws to ensure they are kept within Islamic tenets, an apparent concession to the Taliban.

But Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani offered an alternative to Blinken’s proposal, in which he would head an interim government until elections could be held within months.