Commander of the U.S Central Command, General Kenneth McKenzie in conversation with the Middle East Institute said violence in Afghanistan remains high.

In his conversation, he said “The Taliban continue to resort to extreme violence and targeted killings across the country and frequent attacks on the Afghan forces. While they have mostly avoided attacks on US and coalition units, the level of violence is just simply too high and so that is an action that we look at” he added, “I know the administration is taking a close look at the way forward in accordance with the February 2020 peace agreement.” 

Taliban needs to take action on some of the elements in the US-Taliban agreement, McKenzie said “we all agree that the best path is going to be a negotiated political settlement among the Afghans.” 

“No one debates that essential point. However, you have to take a conditions-based approach,” he also said that both of the negotiating parties should “show that they are willing to make the concessions that are going to be necessary to find a political path forward.” 

McKenzie expressed his concern over Taliban actions and added that the new policy is under review.

Following the review of the US-Taliban agreement by the Biden administration, Mckenzie said “ we will have a way forward” soon.

America’s strategic objectives are still intact to safeguard Afghanistan from terrorist attacks and prevent it from becoming a safe haven to Al-Qaeda or Daesh.

“Success towards this objective would best be achieved through a negotiated settlement between the Taliban and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan,” McKenzie revealed.

Currently, US troops in Afghanistan will “focus heavily on counterterrorism or CT operations while continuing to support the NATO-led Resolute Support mission”, he added.

As Afghan national defense and security forces led by Resolute Support mission “continues to place pressure on the Taliban and VEO groups (violent extremist organizations), challenges remain,” Gen. McKenzie said.

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