The head of U.S. forces and the NATO-led non-combat Resolute Support mission, Gen. Scott Miller says nearly a year after Washington signed a troop-withdrawal deal with the Taliban that called for a reduction in violence by all sides, attacks by the group have escalated.
“Taliban violence is much higher than historical norms,” Miller told Reuters. “It just doesn’t create the conditions to move forward in what is hopefully a historic turning point for Afghanistan.”
Miller said that the fighting now was an indicator that not only would there be a spring offensive – a move many diplomats view as against the spirit of the Doha agreement – but that it could be more intense than before.
“If the violence isn’t reduced, it’s going to make a peace process very, very difficult; it would be very difficult for any side to make the necessary compromises,” Miller said.
This comes as negotiations have largely stalled in Doha in recent weeks and Taliban leaders have left Qatar, a senior US state department official told Reuters, leading to growing fears that talks could be on the brink of collapse.