Taliban Expect US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in May

The Taliban warned the United States on Friday against defying a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, promising a “reaction” though failing to specify exactly what it would be.

The Taliban issued their warning at a press conference in Moscow, the day after meeting with senior Afghan government negotiators and international observers to try to jump-start a stalled peace process to end Afghanistan’s decades of war.

“They should go,” Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban negotiation team, told reporters, warning that staying beyond May 1 would breach the deal.
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“After that, it will be a kind of violation of the agreement. That violation would not be from our side … Their violation will have a reaction.”

He did not elaborate on what form the “reaction” would take, but in keeping with the agreement they signed in February 2020, the Taliban have not attacked US or NATO forces, even as unclaimed bombings and targeted killings of Afghan security forces and civilians have spiked in recent months.

“We hope that this will not happen, that they withdraw and we focus on the settlement, peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue, in order to bring about a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire at the end of reaching a political roadmap [for] Afghanistan,” Shaheen said.

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