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Defense officials say US-Taliban deal has accelerated the end of Afghanistan1

Gen. McKenzie said the Doha agreement had “harmful effects” on the Afghan government.
Top US defense officials say the Taliban could be traced to an agreement reached between the Occupy Afghanistan group and the Trump administration.

In February 2020, the so-called Doha Agreement was signed and a date was set for the United States to withdraw its troops.

Gen. Frank McKenzie said the agreement had a “really dangerous effect” on the Afghan government and military.

General Milley: Al Qaeda can rebuild in Taliban-controlled Afgha
General Milley: Al Qaeda can rebuild in Taliban-controlled Afgha

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed that the agreement had helped the Taliban become “stronger.”

In addition to setting a date for the withdrawal, the Doha Accords included broad responsibilities for the Taliban to take steps to protect groups such as al-Qaeda from endangering the security of the United States and its allies.

Following his election, US President Joe Biden continued his plan to step down, but with an August 31 deadline instead of May.

U.S. defense officials made the remarks Wednesday in a testimony to the House Armed Services Committee.

The hearing comes just weeks after the Kabul airport erupted into chaos as foreign powers tried to repatriate their citizens and thousands of desperate Afghans pleaded for help. A suicide bomber killed 182 people during the operation.

As head of US Central Command, General McKenzie oversaw the withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending a 20-year presence in the country and America’s longest war.

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US-Taliban deal has accelerated the end of Afghanistan

Gen. McKenzie told the committee that the Doha agreement has a strong psychological effect on the Afghan government because it has set a date “when they can expect all aid to end.”

Background: Who supported the agreement with the Taliban?
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He said he had “believed for a long time” that if the United States reduced the number of its military advisers in Afghanistan to 2,500, the Afghan government and army would inevitably disintegrate.

Following the Doha Accords, he said that President Biden’s order to reduce troops in April was “the second nail in the coffin”.

Mr Austin said that while the United States was committed to ending airstrikes against the Taliban, the Doha Accords meant that the Islamist group had “strengthened”, stepped up its offensive against Afghan security forces, and We are losing a lot of people on a war footing. “

Defense officials had earlier Tuesday spoken to the Senate Armed Services Committee, where General Milli and General McKinsey said they had recommended keeping a force of 2,500 troops in Afghanistan before a full US withdrawal in August. ۔

Gen. Milley also said the Taliban’s occupation would make it harder to protect Americans from terrorist attacks, as he described the group as a terrorist organization that “has not yet severed ties with al-Qaeda.”

General Milley: Al Qaeda can rebuild in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants had “assured the world that there would be no threat from any Afghan land against any country, including the United States.”

“We are committed to the agreement reached between the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and the United States in Doha. We also want the United States and its allies to abide by the agreement. It would be better for them instead of making negative comments. Choose the path of diplomacy and cooperation,” he said.

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What attacks has IS-K carried out?

ISK has targeted Afghan security forces, Afghan politicians and ministries, the Taliban, religious minorities, including Shia Muslims and Sikhs, US and NATO forces, and international agencies, including aid organizations.

IS-K has been blamed for the worst atrocities in recent years, targeting girls’ schools, hospitals and even a maternity ward, where they allegedly shot and killed pregnant women and nurses.

IS-K claimed responsibility for the August 26 deadly attack outside Kabul Airport.
Unlike the Taliban, whose interests are limited to Afghanistan, IS-K is part of a global IS network that seeks to attack Western, international and humanitarian targets wherever possible.

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Where is IS-K?

IS is based in the eastern province of Nangarhar, which is close to drug and human trafficking routes in and out of Pakistan.

Although most of its activities have been in Nangarhar and Kabul, it has also claimed attacks in Kunar, Jawzjan, Paktia, Kunduz and Herat provinces.

Is IS-K linked to the Taliban?

Apparently yes, through a third party, the Haqqani Network.

According to researchers, there are strong links between ISK and the Haqqani Network, which in turn have close ties to the Taliban.

The man now in charge of security in Kabul is Khalil Haqqani, who had a 5 million (6 3.6 million) bounty on his head.

Dr. Sajin Gohil of the Asia Pacific Foundation has been monitoring militant networks in Afghanistan for years.

“Several major attacks between 2019 and 2021 involved cooperation between IS-K, the Taliban’s Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups based in Pakistan,” he said.

When the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the group released a large number of prisoners from the Pul-e-Charki prison, including alleged IS and al-Qaeda militants. These people are now on a large scale.

Why does IS-K present a challenge to the Taliban?

But IS-K has major differences with the Taliban, accusing them of abandoning jihad and the battlefield and entering “covered hotels” in Doha, Qatar, in favor of a peace deal through negotiations.

IS-K considers Taliban militants “apostates” and makes their killing lawful under the interpretation of Islamic law.

IS militants are now a major security challenge for the incoming Taliban government, which the Taliban leadership shares with Western intelligence agencies.

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