WASHINGTON: The US negotiator on Afghanistan mentioned that president Ashraf Ghani’s abrupt exit scuttled a deal during which the Taliban would maintain off coming into Kabul and negotiate a political transition.
In his first interview for the reason that collapse of the 20-year Western-backed authorities, Zalmay Khalilzad, who brokered a 2020 cope with the Taliban to withdraw US troops, advised the Monetary Occasions that the insurgents had agreed to remain exterior the capital for 2 weeks and form a future authorities.
“Even on the finish, we had an settlement with the Talibs for (them) to not enter Kabul,” he advised the newspaper within the interview printed Wednesday.
However Ghani fled on August 15 and the Taliban, in a beforehand organized assembly that day with Common Frank McKenzie, chief of Central Command, requested if US troops would guarantee safety for Kabul as authorities authority crumbled.
“After which you recognize what occurred, we weren’t going to take duty,” Khalilzad mentioned.
President Joe Biden had insisted that US troops would solely work to evacuate Individuals and Afghan allies and never prolong America’s longest warfare.
Requested about Khalilzad’s remarks, State Division spokesman Ned Value mentioned it was not an choice to remain “a second longer” in Kabul.
“There was by no means a practical, there was by no means a viable, there was by no means a sensible choice for america to remain,” Value advised reporters.
“We had been left with a really clear and stark impression that if america sought to lengthen our presence on the bottom, our servicemembers… would once more be targets of Taliban violence to not point out terrorist assaults by teams like ISIS.”
Ghani, who sought security within the United Arab Emirates, has apologized for a way the federal government ended however mentioned he left on the recommendation of palace safety to keep away from bloody avenue preventing.
The Taliban had been demanding the resignation of Ghani as a part of any transitional authorities. Finally, they named a caretaker authorities with no non-Taliban nor ladies.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, testifying earlier than Congress this week, additionally mentioned he spoke to Ghani on August 14 and that the Afghan chief agreed each to work on a transitional authorities and, if the Taliban reneged, to “struggle to the demise.”
Blinken mentioned Ghani gave no warning he would depart the subsequent day.
The Afghan-born Khalilzad, a senior determine in former president George W. Bush’s administration who was tapped by Donald Trump to barter the withdrawal, has come beneath fierce criticism in Washington after the Taliban takeover.
Khalilzad, who mentioned he was stunned Biden saved him, didn’t take duty for a way the warfare ended, saying it had been as much as Afghans to succeed in a peace deal.