Taliban insist US forces leave Afghanistan during meeting with Khalilzad

US special envoy for Afghanistan’s reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with senior Taliban leaders including Mullah Baradar in Qatar on Wednesday to discuss provisions of the US-Taliban agreement signed in Doha last year.

Specific topics discussed included the release of the remaining Taliban prisoners, the removal of the Taliban’s name from the UN Blacklist, the withdrawal of US and foreign forces from Afghanistan, as well as other related issues, said the Taliban’s spokesman Mohammad Naeem.

“The full implementation of all articles in the Doha agreement was discussed, and both sides emphasized their commitment to the agreement,” Naeem tweeted.

Despite countless meetings between US and NATO officials, and meetings with Afghan leaders, the US has still not stated whether it will withdraw its troops by the May 1 deadline.

The Taliban has however remained firm in its conviction that troops exit by May 1.

Last week US President Joe Biden said while it would be possible to withdraw troops to meet the deadline it would “be tough” to do so.

He also said that should troops remain post May 1, he did not envision it being for long.

A US-proposed summit, in Turkey, is however scheduled to take place within the next few weeks – where Afghanistan’s future will be discussed by all sides to the conflict.