Zalmay Khalilzad, US special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation on Tuesday said the forecasts that the Taliban will overrun and conquer Kabul militarily is ordinately pessimistic.
Khalilzad told the US House Foreign Affairs Committee that he personally believes “the statements that their forces will disintegrate and the Talibs will take over in short order are mistaken,”.
He added that the Taliban and the Afghan government should implement their part of efforts in the peace process and that Pakistan’s attempt and endeavor plays important role in the peace process.
“We remain in close touch with Pakistan leaders, pressing them to exercise their considerable leverage over the Taliban to reduce violence and support a negotiated settlement,” he added, “I believe Pakistan understands that the protracted war in Afghanistan is not in its interest”.
According to AP news, US lawmakers raised their concerns and skepticism about the future of Afghanistan once foreign troops leave.
Republican Texas representative Michael McCaul, said: “It seems all but certain the Taliban will try to overrun the country and return it to a pre-9/11 state after we have withdrawn”.
“They’ve already ramped up their attacks, taking new territory and bases since the (Biden) announcement was made. Without a military presence in the country, the US is giving them room to deepen their relationship with terrorist groups like al-Qaida, who may seek to launch external attacks on us and our allies from the country once again”, McCaul said.
During the hearing, some of the US lawmakers also shared their concerns over the future of women’s and girls’ rights in the country as Troops withdraw.
Khalilzad explained that the Taliban should take into their consideration that Afghanistan is different than it was 20 years ago.
He also assured that the US will maintain assets in the region, and works with Afghan counterparts will continue.
This comes as Rahmatullah Andar, a spokesman for the Afghan National Security Council said that the Taliban has chosen war, and the group still has ideological and financial ties with other terrorist organizations.
Andar on Tuesday tweeted that the Taliban does not wish for peace in Afghanistan, and there are still foreign fighters in their ranks that is why the US-Taliban deal was reviewed.
According to NSC spokesman Taliban are painstakingly working and their diligent efforts are underway to capture some areas for destruction, violence, forcing people to be displaced, disrupt public order, and find opportunities for looting public facilities.
Meanwhile, Hamdullah Mohib in a telephonic conversation with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that all forms of leverage must be utilized against the Taliban, so the militant group gets back to serious peace negotiations.
He stressed that UN and China’s unique capabilities can be helpful in this regard.
Associated Press reported that Texas Republican Michael McCaul has criticized the US troops’ withdrawal saying there is no chance that the Taliban will abide by the US-Taliban agreement which requires the group to sever ties and engage in real peace negotiations.
“It seems all but certain the Taliban will try to overrun the country and return it to a pre-9/11 state after we have withdrawn,” McCaul said.
“They’ve already ramped up their attacks, taking new territory and bases since the (Biden) announcement was made. Without a military presence in the country, the U.S. is giving them room to deepen their relationship with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, who may seek to launch external attacks on us and our allies from the country once again”, the Republican added.
Violence in Afghanistan has remained high despite calls for a ceasefire, just after Eid’s ceasefire Ministry of Defense reported that 18 provinces were evident to Taliban violence.
Reports indicated that at least 11 members of the US House of Representatives wrote a letter to Joe Biden on “enduring interests and ideals that should continue to guide US efforts in Afghanistan even as the armed forces end their mission in the country”.
Lawmakers urged President Bident to make it clear that America’s policy in Afghanistan is aimed at ensuring the success and survival of the Afghan government and it’s National Defense and Security Forces and stand by those who “bet their lives on the future the US promised them”.
ANDSF efforts will determine Taliban’s actions in “reimposing medieval rule over Afghanistan’s 40 million people; whether al Qaeda and Daesh reestablish terrorist sanctuary there; and whether the country once again unravels in a civil war”.
“If there is any prospect of a just peace settlement in Afghanistan, moreover, it will happen only after the Afghan military demonstrates to the Taliban that their insurgency will not triumph on the battlefield”, the US lawmakers said.
The Lawmakers for maintaining gains in the country said “we need a strategy to sustain our Afghan military partners once our own troops are gone”.
US lawmakers expressed that Afghan have long suffered from war and remains heavily dependent on the US and international supports including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, and maintenance of their equipment.
“While most of these functions are being provided by contractors, the Taliban-US agreement will compel their departure as well,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that “there have also been reports that Turkey is considering removing their security forces that currently protect Kabul International Airport”, the US lawmakers stressed.
“We would support continued US funding to help Afghanistan maintain critical military capabilities. As you know, the Taliban-US agreement prohibits the United States from hiring contractors or US sending uniformed personnel to assist the Afghans,” the US lawmakers promised.
The Afghan government is still permitted to hire its own contractors, and a tougher approach against international backers of the Taliban is required.
John F. Kirby Pentagon Press Secretary on Tuesday while addressing a press conference said US troops’ withdrawal is ongoing at fast pace, with minor harassing attacks that have no effect.
He added that the US is taking all the precautions and General Scott Miller, US forces’ commander in Afghanistan has all the options at his disposal to carry out the task safely.
US Central command on Tuesday said that the retrograde process is about 13 to 20 percent complete.
Hitherto, five facilities were turned over to the Afghan Ministry of defense, CENTCOM has withdrawn 115 C-17 military cargo flights.
According to CENTCOM, more than 5,000 pieces of US equipment were turned to Defense Logistics Agency for destruction.