Afghan capital on high alert over US failure to meet troop withdrawal 'deadline'

Afghan capital on high alert over US failure to meet troop withdrawal ‘deadline’

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Kabul: The Afghan authorities strengthened security in Kabul on Saturday as the country expects the Taliban to react to Joe Biden’s failure to meet the May 1 withdrawal deadline agreed by his predecessor in 2020.

An increased military presence and security at checkpoints were visible in the Afghan capital, and a security source said the city had been placed on “high alert”. Military patrols and security were being increased in main cities around the country, the source said.

According to an agreement reached by the Trump administration with the Taliban in February 2020, foreign forces will withdraw from the country before May 1, while the Taliban will postpone attacks on foreign forces and bases. But President Biden announced last month that the troops will be withdrawn on September 11 after reviewing the fact that the troops will stay in the country for more than 5 months.

The Taliban responded with fierce rhetoric and threatening consequences to the Biden administration’s move, and boycotted a crucial meeting originally scheduled to be held in Turkey last month, which was originally planned to help peace in Afghanistan in Doha. The negotiations are deadlocked.

Since then contacts have been maintained, official and Taliban sources say, in an effort to try to get the Taliban back to negotiating table and agree to the extended foreign troop presence.

As of Saturday it was unclear whether concrete progress had been made and there had been no announcement on an extension.

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