Taliban accuses US of violating Doha peace agreement
The Taliban militant group has accused the US of failing to comply with the terms of a confidence-building agreement that included releasing thousands of militants and suspending attacks on military targets, Afghan media reported on Sunday.
"We are asking the Americans to seriously comply with the contents of the agreement and to alert their allies to fully abide by the agreement," the Taliban said in a statement published online.
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The US-Taliban deal — negotiated in Qatar without the presence of the Afghan government — stipulated the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and a drawdown of US forces in the country. The deal was aimed at building trust between warring parties before more extensive talks to end the 19-year conflict.
But US Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for the US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), rejected the Taliban's allegations.
"USFOR-A has upheld, and continues to uphold, the military terms of the US-Taliba agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless," Leggett said in a tweet. "USFOR-A has been clear — we will defend our (Afghan National Security Force) partners if attacked in compliance with the agreement."
In 2001, the US toppled the Taliban government in Afghanistan after the militant group refused to hand over the-al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
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Despite efforts to end the fighting, thousands of civilians are killed each year, according to government figures.