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The Taliban is demanding that President Joe Biden complete the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, setting up a scenario where the president may be forced to choose between following their demands and upholding U.S. interests.
In an interview with Sky News, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen called for the U.S. to “withdraw all their forces” by Sept. 11th and stressed the group’s “committed not to attack them.”
The suggestion appeared to be that so long as Biden abides by the group’s veritable orders, there’ll be no violence directed at U.S. troops.
“I think they should get their troops out of Afghanistan. They have already violated the time frame which was enshrined in the Doha agreement. Then they announced that they will withdraw all their forces by September 11, so they should withdraw all their forces,” Shaheen said.
“We are committed to not attack them, and we have not attacked them,” he added.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen says the US should “withdraw all their forces” by 11 September, but adds “we are committed not to attack them”
— Sky News (@SkyNews) August 17, 2021
Note his complaint about the Biden administration having “already violated the time frame which was enshrined in the Doha agreement.”
The Doha agreement reached between the Taliban and former President Donald Trump called for the withdrawal to be complete by May 1st.
For reasons that remain unclear, Biden unilaterally announced in April that he’d decided to breach the agreement and delay the final withdrawal to Sept. 11th.
At the time, the Taliban warned of consequences if the deal was breached:
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seeks the withdrawal of all foreign forces from our homeland on the date specified in the Doha Agreement.
If the agreement is adhered to, a pathway to addressing the remaining issues will also be found.
— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) April 14, 2021
If the agreement is breached and foreign forces fail to exit our country on the specified date, problems will certainly be compounded and those whom failed to comply with the agreement will be held liable.
— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) April 14, 2021
And indeed, once the May 1st deadline had passed, attacks resumed with a “major Taliban offensive” against Afghan forces, as reported at the time by Reuters.
As withdrawal of foreign forces from #Afghanistan by agreed upon May 1st deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces.
— Zabihullah (..ذبـــــیح الله م ) (@Zabehulah_M33) May 1, 2021
Three months later, the Taliban secured its first win by conquering Nimruz Province. Within nine days, the group had conquered the entire country and was on the verge of taking the nation’s capital city of Kabul as well.
What remains unclear is how the president will proceed moving forward, especially given reports that the Taliban’s blazing-fast recapture of the entire country has reportedly “energized global jihadists.”
“An intelligence official from an Arab nation, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe evolving assessments, said officials had seen an uptick in jihadist communications about developments in Afghanistan. The Taliban takeover, this official said, ‘is encouraging many jihadists to think about traveling to Afghanistan now instead of Syria or Iraq,'” The Washington Post reported Monday.
“According to a European intelligence official, the Taliban’s victory has become a rallying cry for jihadist sympathizers there. ‘The U.S. appears in all of this now as a weak nation,’ he said. An al-Qaeda fighter who goes by the name Abu Khaled said the Taliban’s conquest was momentous for all extremists. ‘God willing, the success of the Taliban will be also a chance to unify mujahideen movements like al-Qaeda and Daesh,’ he said, using another name for the Islamic State,” the Post added.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) August 17, 2021
Making matters worse, the Taliban have reportedly found and commandeered a plethora of high-powered, U.S. manufactured military arsenal.
“The Taliban captured an array of modern military equipment when they overran Afghan forces who failed to defend district centers. Bigger gains followed, including combat aircraft, when the Taliban rolled up provincial capitals and military bases with stunning speed, topped by capturing the biggest prize, Kabul, over the weekend,” the Associated Press confirmed Tuesday.
“A U.S. defense official on Monday confirmed the Taliban’s sudden accumulation of U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment is enormous,” the AP added.
Tuesday was the same day that the president finally — after days of mostly ignoring the crisis — cut his vacation short and returned to the White House to stay.
NEW: The White House, in another schedule change, now says Pres. Biden will return to the White House this evening. He was originally supposed to stay at Camp David until tomorrow.
— Shelby Talcott (@ShelbyTalcott) August 17, 2021
The president had briefly returned to the White House on Monday to deliver a speech blaming his predecessor for the crisis in Afghanistan, but he’d immediately rushed back to vacation after he was done speaking.
This prompted massive criticism, which may explain his abrupt decision to reverse course 24 hours later.
Nothing screams “The Buck Stops Here” quite like Joe Biden going back on vacation five minutes after his disastrous address to the nation while the world burns! #Biden
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) August 17, 2021
…and just like that…President Biden is now back on vacation. Why even run for President if you don’t want the job when it matters most?
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) August 16, 2021
Just so we’re clear:
Biden just presided over the greatest foreign policy disaster since the Fall of Saigon, and he went back on vacation.
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) August 17, 2021
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