The Wall Street Journal quoted US officials as saying that European allies are pressing Washington to delay the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, in order to give NATO more time and support to leave.
The newspaper revealed that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan may be delayed by two weeks or more, to meet the requests of the allies.
The "Wall Street Journal" reported that Turkey informed the United States and NATO that it might also withdraw before the departure of the coalition forces is complete. Officials emphasized that this withdrawal from securing Kabul airport might prompt some Western countries to reconsider plans to keep embassies open in the capital without a force. International airport at Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The same source quoted an American official as saying that his country wants to withdraw its forces early next July, but there are several factors that affect this timetable, adding that the United States will support European allies during the withdrawal of their forces from Afghanistan.
Call to resume negotiations
On Friday, the United States and its European allies called for an "immediate" and "unconditional" resumption of the Afghan-Afghan peace negotiations, accusing the Taliban of launching attacks during the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and undermining peace in that country.
On Thursday, envoys from the United States, the European Union, NATO and several European countries met in Berlin to assess the situation in Afghanistan, as international forces began their complete withdrawal in implementation of the promise made by US President Joe Biden to accomplish this withdrawal before September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks. It was launched by Al Qaeda in the United States and prompted Washington to invade Afghanistan.
On Friday, the envoys issued a statement demanding that "immediately and without preconditions, resume substantive negotiations on the future of Afghanistan with the aim of reaching a realistic power-sharing settlement leading to the formation of an inclusive and legitimate government."
The Taliban and Washington signed a historic peace agreement in Doha last year, while Afghan negotiations continue to falter (Al-Jazeera)
The statement warned that "the withdrawal of forces should not be used by the Taliban as an excuse to suspend the peace process."
The unprecedented direct negotiations between the Kabul government and the Taliban began last September in Qatar, but they are still stalled.
A special conference was scheduled to be held at the end of last April in Turkey to re-launch these negotiations, but it was postponed indefinitely due to the Taliban’s refusal to participate in it in protest against the US President Joe Biden’s administration’s decision to postpone the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The administration of former President Donald Trump had pledged, in a historic agreement with the Taliban, to withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1, but the Biden administration postponed it.
Heavy fighting erupted over the weekend in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, after the official start of the withdrawal of the last 2,500 American soldiers still in the country, as well as more than 16,000 civilian employees who are contracting with the Pentagon.
US combat aircraft helped repel the main Taliban attack, which prompted thousands of Afghans to flee their homes to escape the violence in the Lashkar Gah region.
The insurgents also occupied an area in the north, and Taliban fighters took control of the second dam, Kabir, in Afghanistan after months of heavy fighting in Kandahar Province (south).
In their statement, the US envoy and his European counterparts strongly denounced "the continuing violence in Afghanistan, for which the Taliban are largely responsible," calling on the Taliban to "stop the unspoken spring offensive."
The statement warned that "any Taliban attack on our forces" during their withdrawal "will be met with a strong response."
The envoys asked the two parties to the conflict to take "immediate and necessary measures" to reduce the level of tension with the aim of achieving a "permanent and comprehensive ceasefire."