Updated in: 13 April 2021 - 03:27
TEHRAN (Defapress) - International troops reportedly plan to stay in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline.
News ID: 82964
Publish Date: 31January 2021 - 22:58

Foreign troops to stay in Afghanistan longer than expectedAccording to Reuters, International troops plan to stay in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline envisaged by the Taliban’s deal with the United States, four senior NATO officials said.

“There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end,” one of the officials told Reuters.

“Conditions have not been met,” he said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. “And with the new US administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy.”

The administration of then-President Donald Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban early last year calling for the withdrawal of all foreign troops by May in return for the Taliban fulfilling certain security guarantees.

Trump hailed the accord - which did not include the Afghan government - as the end of two decades of war. He reduced US troops to 2,500 by this month, the fewest since 2001.

Plans on what will happen after April are now being considered and likely to be a top issue at a key NATO meeting in February, the NATO sources said.

The positions of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are becoming increasingly important after the alliance was sidelined by Trump, diplomats and experts say.

Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban began in September in Doha, but violence has remained high.

“No NATO ally wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary, but we have been clear that our presence remains conditions-based,” said NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu. “Allies continue to assess the overall situation and to consult on the way forward.”

She said about 10,000 troops, including Americans, are in Afghanistan. Those levels are expected to stay roughly the same until after May, but the plan beyond that is not clear, the NATO source said.

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