The United States ordered hi troops in Afghanistan to start withdrawal. On Tuesday, the certain measures were taken to commit the US obligations under the recent peace agreement signed with the Taliban.
The US praised loudly the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s promise to start releasing Taliban prisoners after he had delayed for over a week, Associated Press reports. In its turn, Washington has started military troops’ withdrawal.
According to the US-Taliban deal signed on Feb. 29, the next vital step was to be intra-Afghan talks in which all factions including the Taliban would shape a road map for their country’s future.
However, the internal spolitical situation in Afghanistan remains weird. Ashraf Ghani and his political rival, Abdullah Abdullah, were each sworn in as president in separate ceremonies on Monday. The point is Mr Abdallah and the elections complaints commission had charged fraud in last year’s vote.
The duelling inaugurations have thrown plans for talks with the Taliban into chaos, although President Ghani said Tuesday that he’d start putting together a negotiating team.
Mike Pompeo, the US Stae Secretary, stressed he «strongly opposed” the establishment of a parallel government in Kabul, despite the early signs of one emerging.
Meanwhile, the US military spokesman in Afghanistan Sonny Leggett laid out the plans on the gradual withdrawal of the American troops. He said in a statement on Tuesday that the military had begun its «conditions-based reduction of forces to 8,600 over 135 days.”
Currently, the US has about 13,000 soldiers in Afghanistan — 8,000 of whom are involved in training and advising Afghanistan’s National Security Forces, while about 5,000 are involved in anti-terror operations and militarily supporting the Afghan army when they are requested.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on Monday saying, «We also welcome President Ghani’s announcement that he will issue a decree March 10 on Taliban prisoner release.”
Commenting on duelling inaugurations, Mr Pompeo warned against «any use of force to resolve political differences.” In other words, both candidates are backed by warlords with heavily armed militias.
On the weekend, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the insurgent group was committed to their agreement with the United States and called on Washington to do its part to make sure their prisoners were freed.
Meanwhile, the ISIS claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that took place during Ghani’s inauguration ceremony. The terroristic structure also claimed a brutal attack last week on a gathering of minority Shiites that killed 32 and injured scores more.