The first words on Afghanistan from the administration of new US President Joe Biden are not what the Taliban hoped to hear. Tuesday, January 19, before the Senate, the future US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, for the first time delivered the strategy that would be put in place by Washington in this country, twenty years after having sent its first soldiers there. After four years of Trump’s presidency, the shift in focus could be significant. He indicated his intention to conduct a full review of the historic pre-peace agreement signed on February 29, 2020 in Doha, by the United States and the Afghan insurgents, leaving the Kabul regime aside.
Mr. Blinken has already returned, on Tuesday, to a key commitment by outgoing President Donald Trump, who had agreed, in the Doha agreement, to withdraw all of the American armed forces by 1er May 2021. In return, the Taliban promised to ban their soil from any terrorist group and to enter into peace negotiations with the government in Kabul. Mr Blinken’s words will have a direct impact on the war in Afghanistan, although he concedes that he has yet to “Watch carefully what has been negotiated”. Since he was unable to obtain the documents from his predecessors, he admits that he “Has not yet heard of everything” and that he wants ” fully understand what commitments have been made or not by the Taliban ”. Certain clauses of the agreement have, moreover, remained secret.
Mr. Blinken has already assured that his administration “Would maintain a certain capacity to cope with any resurgence of terrorism, the very reason that initially made us intervene”, after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. He did not specify what he meant by “Capacity”. During the campaign, Mr. Biden had indicated that it could be special forces. Such a prospect calls into question the bases of the Doha agreement and has already led the Taliban to declare that if a single American soldier remains on national soil, the commitments made in February 2020 will lapse. One way of saying that they allowed themselves the resumption of attacks specifically targeting foreign troops.
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“We want the end of this eternal war and we want to bring our strength home”, defended Mr. Blinken before the Senate before driving the point home, but “The elected president wants to be sure that, even if we withdraw our troops, we retain the means to face any resurgence” terrorist. It thus responds favorably to the repeated requests, and never heard by the previous administration, of the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani. For Mr. Ghani, the Doha agreement is not a peace agreement but only “A withdrawal agreement”.
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