Jake Sullivan: Biden is pushing the Taliban hard on anti-terror commitments

The US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, has recently said that the Biden administration is pushing the Taliban hard to hold the group to their anti-terror commitments under the Doha agreement to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for transnational terrorist outfits.

When asked by Voice of America (VOA) in the press if Washington is tracking down terrorist targets in the country, the US Advisor said:

“What I could say is that we are holding the Taliban to their commitments under the Doha agreement, which is that Afghanistan cannot be used as a safe haven to plot terrorist attacks against anyone and especially, from our purposes, against the United States of America, our homeland, our allies, and our partners.”

The US had previously accused the Taliban of violating the Doha agreement, which was signed by the then-Trump administration in February 2020 in Doha, Qatar, a deal that eventually paved the way for all US and NATO troops to withdraw from Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, ending two decades of intervention in the country.

The US State Department had said that the Taliban was not fulfilling its pledges and harbored Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former leader of Al-Qaeda, who was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul on 31 July 2022.

Taliban authorities said they were “unaware” of al-Zawahiri’s presence in Kabul, indicating to initiate an investigation into the matter.

However, Jake Sullivan told the VOA that the US is working “tirelessly every day” to ensure that that set of commitments by the Taliban is fulfilled.

Sullivan did not provide further details.

In June, the UN Security Council’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team report revealed that the Taliban is maintaining “strong” and “symbiotic” ties with Al-Qaeda and other transnational terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

The report said that Al-Qaeda is seeking to strengthen its operational capabilities in Afghanistan, and its members enjoy “advisory roles in the Taliban security and administrative structures”. It also stated that Al-Qaeda members receive monthly “welfare payments” from the Taliban.

The Taliban has denied any involvement with Al-Qaeeda, insisting on the group’s commitments that there is “no threat from the territory of Afghanistan to the neighbors, region, and the world.”