NATO defense ministers have not been able to confirm whether it will be possible to fulfill the commitment to withdraw all allied troops from Afghanistan on May 1, due to the increase in violence in the country. At the end of two days of virtual meetings, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that the best solution “is to re-energize the peace talks” between the Afghan government and the Taliban, “so that all actors can get involved. agree and find a platform that is the basis of lasting peace. The difficulty is that we are in a situation in which we have the May 1 deadline approaching, the negotiations are fragile and are not moving forward, and we are concerned about the growing level of violence. And that is why we have not made a final decision as we believe that there is still time to find an agreement before May 1.
The departure of all allied troops on May 1 was a compromise reached in Doha last year in negotiations between the Taliban and the United States after 17 years of Western military presence in that country. However, in that same pact, the Taliban insurgents promised to reach an agreement with the Afghan authorities, to stop their terrorist attacks and to stop supporting Al Qaida. For now, negotiations are stalled and violence has continued to increase. What’s more, this year the usual spring offensive has come ahead and before the arrival of good weather, the attacks began. US General Scott Miller, head of allied troops in Afghanistan, declared this week that at this time “the violence of the Taliban is much greater than in other years, which does not support the conditions to advance in what is expected to be a historic turning point for Afghanistan.
Stoltenberg has assured that the new US Defense Secretary has promised not to act unilaterally and to agree with the rest of the allies to withdraw the 10,000 soldiers who remain on the ground, most of the European allies or from an associated country such as Georgia. Nobody pretends to say that this will be easy,” said the secretary-general. “It is a very complicated dilemma because if we stay beyond May 1, we run the risk of an increase in the attacks on our troops, but if we leave without conditions, then what can happen is that all the advances of these years get lost and Afghanistan once again a haven for terrorists.