Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham in an interview with CBS has said that the American troops will not leave Afghanistan in May, supporting the Biden administration’s stance on Afghanistan and its bid to review the US-Taliban agreement.

American republican Senator, Lindsey Graham in an interview with CBS news said, that US troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond the May deadline, he supported the Afghan administration and the review of US-Taliban dead.

“I’m very pleased with what the Biden administration is proposing for Afghanistan. We’re going to keep troops there on a conditions-based approach,” Graham told CBS.

Responding to a question of whether US troops will leave Afghanistan by May, Graham said, “I think we’re not going to leave in May. We’re going to leave when the conditions are right. The Taliban have been cheating. They haven’t been complying. And so I like what Secretary Blinken and the Biden administration is doing” adding that the United States is “reevaluating our presence in Afghanistan to keep the footprint low, but not to walk away and lose all the gains we’ve achieved,”.

He added, “If we leave too soon without a conditions-based withdrawal, Daesh and al-Qaeda will come roaring back. Women will suffer greatly. So they’re in a good spot, I think, on Afghanistan.”

Earlier, this week US Congress’ study group calls on the Biden administration to slow the US troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan, remove the May deadline and reduce the number of forces based on the conditions.

The report indicates that withdrawal of international forces by May 1st, could lead to civil war in Afghanistan, the group began its Congressionally mandated work in April 2020 after the US-Taliban agreement in February.

“We have an interest in an Afghanistan that respects basic human rights. We do not, however, believe that securing these interests requires a permanent US military presence in Afghanistan,” the group said in the report.

According to the bipartisan report “an immediate diplomatic effort to extend the current May 2021 withdrawal date in order to give the peace process sufficient time to produce an acceptable result.”

The study group recommended that the peace process should clarify the end state, reinforce the conditionality of final US troop withdrawal, clarification of US commitment to the current Afghan state, designing overarching regional diplomatic strategy, and work diplomatically for the promotion of success in peace talks.

It also mentioned that conducting counterterrorism operations and supporting Afghan forces are the key objectives of the US military to help create circumstances for an acceptable peace agreement.

“It should not, however, simply hand a victory to the Taliban,” it said.

NATO CONCERN:

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in a joint press conference said  “we have seen attacks … against individuals, journalists, and others, and of course the high level of violence is something which is of great concern.”  

Jens Stoltenberg said, “so, we will make the assessment together, we will make the decision together, and this will be one of the most important topics that will be discussed when we have a NATO Defense Ministerial meeting later this month and decisions will be made,”

He said that NATO and its allies came by a difficult decision on Afghanistan and that they should make the decision together, because the international leaders will face challenges and costs, on whatever they decide.  

“If we decide to leave, we risk jeopardizing the peace process, we risk losing the gains we have made in the fight against international terrorism over the last years, and we risk that Afghanistan once again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists,” he said. 

“On the other hand, if we decide to stay, of course we will continue to be in a difficult military operation in Afghanistan, and we risk increased violence also against NATO troops,” he added that the Taliban “have to live up to their commitments, especially when it comes to breaking old ties with international terrorists including Al Qaeda. And we need to see reduced violence.”

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  • Khaama Press

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