KABUL: The Afghan Taliban on Sunday accused the US of violating parts of a historic peace deal, warning that further infringements could damage trust between the two sides.
“The Islamic Emirate so far has remained committed to the agreement and has fully observed it. But there have been flagrant violations from the Americans and their local and foreign colleagues against us,” excerpts from a statement released by the group read.
As part of the deal struck in Doha, Qatar in February of this year, Washington was set to facilitate the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by President Ashraf Ghani’s government in early March, before the start of the first intra-Afghan dialogue.
Contrary to the deal, American and Afghan forces have conducted airstrikes against civilian sites, while the Taliban have avoided staging attacks in cities and organizing significant strikes against government forces, the statement read.
“Since we have witnessed repeated violation in this regard, we demand that the American side observe the contents of the agreement and also inform their other colleagues to do so,” it read.
The statement added that before issuing their warning, the Taliban had shared their concerns with the US through a communication channel set up by both sides for the purpose.
“If these violations go on, an atmosphere of mistrust will be created that will not only damage the deal but will also force the Mujahideen to reciprocal reaction, thus increasing the extent of the fighting,” the statement said.
The historic peace deal was signed after nearly a year and a half of intensive talks between the Taliban and Washington, without including Ghani’s government.
One of the top conditions of the agreement was for Washington to withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan within 14 months of signing the deal.
In return, the Taliban pledged to ensure that insurgents would not use their controlled areas to stage attacks against the world or US interests.
The accord drew adverse reactions from a few former US generals, even as President Donald Trump insisted that he would put an end to Washington’s endless battles, such as the conflict in Afghanistan, which began in late 2001 by ousting the Taliban from power. The conflict is considered America’s longest war to date.
The deal also pushed for the start of talks between the Taliban and other Afghans, including Ghani’s government, to find a solution to end the war and decide on the future political setup.
Ghani’s officials refused to comment on the Taliban’s statement, arguing that Washington had struck the deal and, therefore, it was the American administration that needed to respond and not Kabul.
It was not immediately possible to get a comment from the US Embassy on the matter.
However, analyst Shafiq Haqpal believes that the Taliban’s statement has been long in the making.
“The Taliban seemed upset privately in recent weeks because America failed to fulfill its pledges based on the deal. The statement now clearly shows the Taliban’s public dissatisfaction, and that will have its impact in the future if not settled,” Haqpal said.