Taliban unlikely to close door on talks despite US delay, experts say

Taliban unlikely to close door on talks despite US delay, experts say

The Afghan Taliban are expected to continue co-operating with the US on peace negotiations with the Afghan government despite rejecting US President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops by September, experts say.

US officials said the withdrawal would begin on May 1 – the deadline by which US troops were to have left under a deal agreed to by the insurgents and the Trump administration that paved the way for Taliban participation in peace talks.

All combat forces will leave the country by September 11, Washington said.

The insurgent group responded by withdrawing from talks scheduled to take place in Istanbul on April 24.

Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem said the insurgents would not participate “in any conference that shall make decisions about Afghanistan” until foreign forces “completely withdraw from our homeland”.

Analysts said the US decision and the Taliban response were expected. The insurgents repeatedly refused to compromise on the May 1 withdrawal date and the Biden administration said on several occasions that the deadline was not feasible.

“American policies are driven by many domestic and international factors,” said former Afghan intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil.

Moves made by Iran, North Korea, Russia and China “all affect the Americans’ policies in Afghanistan because they feel they are wasting resources and blood in Afghanistan”, he said.

But Mr Nabil, does not believe the talks have collapsed entirely. He said the Taliban would try to renegotiate a new deal with the US, with Pakistan acting as mediators.

“Americans want to give concessions to the Taliban in return for extension of the withdrawal timeline,” he said.

Read full report on The National