Doha talks
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White House: Doha Deal Empowered Taliban, Weakened US Allies

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES – White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says that the agreement reached between the US and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar four years ago empowered the Taliban and weakened US partners in Afghanistan.

During a press briefing on Wednesday, February 28, Ms. Jean-Pierre said that the ruling regime in Afghanistan has not honored its obligations as outlined in the agreement.

She further said that the Taliban has not fulfilled their commitment to engage in a meaningful dialogue with fellow Afghans which would lead to a negotiated settlement and inclusive political system.

The agreement, signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha, Qatar on February 29, paved the way for the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, the collapse of the US-backed government, and the Taliban’s retaking control of the country in August 2021.

According to the terms of the agreement, the US and the Taliban sought to address four major issues: the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops from Afghanistan and reducing the level of violence in the country.

Additionally, they aimed to initiate a national peace dialogue and ensure that Afghanistan would never again become a safe haven for terrorist groups.

The agreement further ensured the release of 5,000 Taliban fighters, including many commanders captured during the 20 years of US-led war in Afghanistan.

Although the agreement mandated the cessation of their participation in the conflict, reports indicate that the vast majority of the released fighters resumed battling alongside the Taliban against the previous government.

The US-Taliban agreement not only failed to facilitate intra-Afghan peace dialogue but also greatly hindered the process, making it more difficult for both the US and the Afghan government to bring the Taliban to the negotiation table.

Since then, the international community, including the US and regional countries, has consistently criticized the Taliban for breaching the agreement by harboring international terrorist groups in Afghanistan and failing to form an inclusive government in the country.

Last year, John Bolton, the former US National Security Advisor under President Donald Trump who initiated the peace deal, referred to the US-Taliban agreement as a “disastrous mistake.”

“That was a disastrous mistake for America and for our national security in the world,” Bolton said.

The US also criticizes the Taliban for violating the deal by sheltering Ayman al-Zawahiri, the former leader of Al-Qaeda. Al-Zawahiri was killed in a US drone strike in Kabul in July 2022 while enjoying a lavish shelter in the heavily fortified downtown area of Kabul’s Sherpoor Neighbourhood.

On the other hand, the Taliban also accuses the US of not adhering to the Doha Deal.

Speaking at a large gathering to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of the Doha Deal, the Taliban deputy prime minister, Abdul Ghani Baradar, said the US was not allowing the world to engage with the group’s government and had “illegally” frozen the country’s assets.

The White House Press Secretary further said that his country would continue to hold the Taliban to their commitments. “We are working tirelessly every day to ensure that this set of commitments is fulfilled.  And that has been how we’re moving forward on that,” he said.