Taliban warns of ‘major war’ if US reneges on Doha deal

The Taliban has warned Washington against breaking the US-Taliban deal signed in February last year and threatened “major war” if the new Biden administration fails to abide by its commitment to withdraw all troops by the end of April.

In a statement issued on Friday, the group said: “If the Doha agreement is abrogated, it will lead to a major war, the responsibility of which shall fall squarely on the shoulders of America.”

The statement came in response to the International Crisis Group’s brief this week in which the group suggested the US extend the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by at least six months while it reviews the deal it signed with the Taliban.

The ICG stated that after the February 2020 deal between the US and the Taliban, peace talks took six months to start – and have only inched forward slightly. According to the group in light of this, “it is far from clear where negotiations are headed.”

The group stated that with the end-April deadline for full troop withdrawal fast approaching, Washington would be wise to extend the deadline.

“This is not enough time for the new administration to set its policy course and evaluate Taliban compliance with the counter-terrorism assurances it provided in the February deal.

“Nor is it sufficient time for the Afghan parties – who, for instance, spent three months negotiating a brief set of procedural rules for talks – to notch any meaningful agreements,” the group stated in its briefing.

But the Taliban are clearly unhappy about this possibility and said: “If, God forbid, the Doha agreement is breached, it will lead to a dangerous escalation for which the opposing side will be responsible.

The Taliban also said “all must desist from provocative actions and rhetoric that could lead us all back to former war footing posture because such is neither in the interest of America nor in the interest of the Afghan people.”