The Taliban says it has the right to react if U.S. forces stay in Afghanistan

A spokesperson told Al Jazeera that if Washington retained 650 soldiers after the September 11 deadline, it would be an “clear violation” of the agreement.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said in an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera that if the United States continues to station troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of troops on September 11, the Taliban will “have the right to respond”.

US officials told the Associated Press on Thursday that after Washington withdrew troops to end its 20-year military presence in the country, about 650 US soldiers are expected to remain in Afghanistan to provide security for diplomats.

In response to the report, Shaheen told Al Jazeera’s Osama Bin Javaid in Doha that if the United States did so, it would violate protocol It aims to end the longest U.S. war between Washington and the Taliban in the capital of Qatar in February 2020.

“We have signed the Doha Agreement and negotiated with the US for 18 months. They have agreed and promised to withdraw all troops, consultants and contractors from Afghanistan,” Shaheen said.

“I think this is a clear violation of the agreement,” he added.

“If they stay here, then I think this is a continuation of the occupation. They violated, and we have every right to react,” Shaheen said.

US President Joe Biden announced in mid-April that he planned to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11, which was a few more extended than the May 1 deadline reached by his predecessor, Donald Trump’s administration and the Taliban. month. The government of Afghanistan.

Biden ordered the final withdrawal to begin on May 1, when the number of U.S. troops was between 2,500 and 3,500, and may be completed as soon as July 4. All international forces, including 7,000 NATO soldiers, will be withdrawn on September 11.

Shaheen told Al Jazeera that the Taliban promised to provide safe passages when U.S. troops leave Afghanistan and armed groups will not attack them.

“We are still loyal to this,” Shaheen said.

“During their evacuation, we did not attack them. Even [when] They violated the full withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan on May 1st-despite this, we have not attacked them, and we are fully capable of doing so. “

Worried about the downfall of the government

Since the United States and NATO began to withdraw their troops, the Taliban have made considerable gains on the territory, which has exacerbated Western fears that the Afghan government and its military may collapse within a few months.

The Taliban have occupied dozens of areas and at the same time stepped up their attacks on government positions.

US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken admitted in a speech in Paris on Friday that attacks on Afghan troops are increasing and Washington is assessing whether the peace plan is realistic.

Brinken said: “We are looking at the situation in Afghanistan very carefully, and we are also looking very seriously at whether the Taliban are really serious about resolving conflicts peacefully.”

“We continue to engage in diplomacy, but the attempt to seize the country by force of course is totally inconsistent with finding a peaceful solution.”

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