(HorizonPost.com) – The Taliban has been exhibiting its military might across large swaths of Afghanistan, seizing control over approximately 50% of the nation’s district centers. Recent reports also suggest civilian casualties have been on the rise. During a trip to India, Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed the administration’s official concerns about Afghanistan, stressing their position that peaceful negotiation — and not open warfare — is the only way to calm the country.
Secretary Blinken went on to say peace talks are something “which all parties must take seriously,” but that may not be something the leadership of the Taliban is willing to accept.
During President Donald Trump’s administration, an outline for such talks was negotiated contingent upon a May 1, 2021 deadline to withdraw American and NATO military forces from the country. In mid-March, President Biden reneged on that deal at the urging of the Afghan government. The Taliban responded with threats, saying if the withdrawal date was missed, the group would consider the action “deliberate sabotage” of the negotiated peace agreement.
U.S. 'deeply troubled' by attacks on civilians as Taliban sweep across Afghanistan https://t.co/pGxuk7HgJQ pic.twitter.com/MzreVvariU
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 28, 2021
The American response came after the Human Rights Watch reports emerged of Taliban forces targeting civilians in some of the northern provinces, including one specific area: Bagh-e Sherkat in Kunduz province. Allegedly, the Taliban targeted regional supporters of the official Afghanistan government by ordering forced evacuations, then looting the houses before burning them to the ground.
The leaders of the insurgent forces have made it clear it’s their opinion they “signed a peace agreement with the US administration,” and not with a specific president or negotiator. As of the writing of this article, it’s unknown exactly how, or even if, the Afghan rebels will address US concerns.
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