Taliban sees US Afghanistan exit as 'a victory' says Koofi
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Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi explained the Taliban have seen the UK and US withdrawal as “a victory” as their forces continue to rampage across Afghanistan and the capital, Kabul. Ms Koofi was asked whether Afghanistan should simply be left alone to deal with its own problems to which she replied the Afghanistan Government’s desires have always been at the forefront of discussions so, in a way, they always have been in control. But she added negotiations with the Taliban only needed one more year to resolve with the support of the US to come to some mutual agreement but the withdrawal has meant the group has capitalised on the power vacuum in the region.
In 2019, the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban without the Afghanistan Government present in order to broke some form of ceasefire in exchange for Taliban prisoners.
The talks eventually led to further negotiations the following year where US forces would leave Afghanistan in May 2021 as long as the Taliban did not harbour extremist groups like Al-Qaeda.
These talks were again held without Afghan representatives present and the agreement was signed in Doha in February 2020.
At the time, former President Donald Trump said: “I really believe the Taliban wants to do something to show we’re not all wasting time.
“If bad things happen, we’ll go back with a force like no-one’s ever seen.”
But Ms Koofi said agreements between the Taliban and government were still ongoing, adding the Taliban now see the withdrawal as a “victory” as they are able to move in and take control across the country.
She told Channel 4 News: “The world came to Afghanistan not based on the invitation of our partners.
“They came to Afghanistan because their own security was at risk in 2001.
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“We’re very grateful for what you did, the strategic partnership, but remember our plans were in the forefront of everything, protecting democracy, fighting the military extremism.
“Now the world decided to leave Afghanistan, President Biden announced that he will leave unconditionally same as the other allies including the UK.
“Without knowing that if they could extend their stay for one year or less than a year, we could reach a political agreement because we were in the middle of a negotiation.
“Both sides were trying to come to some sort of agreement when the Taliban heard that the US is withdrawing without any condition and this is something Taliban have been fighting for.
“They thought that [they secured] a bit of a victory, they don’t see the need for a political settlement.”
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President Biden reviewed the old agreement with the Taliban and pushed the May date back to September 11.
The White House confirmed in April that the withdrawal of troops had begun with all US personnel to be removed by September 11.
Earlier this year, there were around 3,000 troops based in Afghanistan with several special operatives working in the area.
However, a Taliban chief told Good Morning America earlier this year there would be “consequences” if the original May date was deviated from.”
At its peak, the US had 100,000 troops in Afghanistan in 2011 which has now dropped to roughly 2,500.
Around 450 British soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan and several hundred still remain there to train local Afghan militias.
The withdrawal decision was originally organised by Donald Trump.
However, the date for withdrawal was initially set for May 1 and Mr Biden has now pushed it to September 11 – marking 20 years since the attack on the World Trade Centre.
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