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Taliban threaten attacks if foreign troops stay past May 1

Kabul: Taliban militants have warned that they will resume attacks against foreign forces if they do not withdraw from Afghanistan by the May 1 deadline, in response to US President Joe Biden offering an unclear timetable on when American troops would be pulled back.

“All responsibility for the prolongation of war, death and destruction will be on the shoulders of those whom committed this violation,” DPA news agency quoted the insurgent group as saying in a statement.

The May 1 deadline is part of an agreement the US administration under former President Donald Trump signed with the Taliban in February 2020 in Doha.

It is now under review by the Biden administration.

Under the deal, the US promised to withdraw all US and international forces from Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban vowed to cut ties with Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Since the signing of the deal, there have been no attacks on US-led NATO forces in the country.

However, there is no tangible progress in ongoing peace talks between the representatives of the Taliban and the government that started in September 2020.

Recently, Biden said that he “can’t picture” US troops still being in Afghanistan next year, but he did not offer a precise timetable.

The Taliban called Biden’s remarks “vague” and emphasized that the Doha agreement is the best option to end the past 20 years of war.

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Won’t leave Afghanistan before time is right: NATO chief

New Delhi:┬áThe Secretary-General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance does not intend to withdraw troops from Afghanistan “before the time is right”.

“While no ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, we will not leave before the time is right,” Stoltenberg said during a media conference.

“Ministers will continue to assess the situation on the ground and monitor developments very closely”, Stoltenberg added.

Whether the troops will continue to operate in Afghanistan depends on Biden’s rejection or acceptance of the May deadline which requires pulling out all foreign forces.

US President Biden’s administration claims that it is currently reviewing the deal.

The Pentagon has also accused the Taliban of failing to fulfill its promises, which include reduction of attacks and severing ties with groups like Al-Qaeda. Even then, no concrete announcement on the future of deployment is expected this week.

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