Afghanistan: US warns of new Taliban ‘spring offensive’

US warns of new Taliban 'spring offensive'
US and Nato troops have helped train members of the Afghan security forces. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: The Taliban could make rapid military gains across Afghanistan when Nato and American troops pull out, US Secretary of State has warned.

Under a deal between the Taliban and the previous Trump administration, all remaining US troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of next month.

But in a letter to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, US Secretary of State Mr Blinken has warned of a possible new “spring offensive”.

US troops invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to remove the Taliban from power.

The US invasion was in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The Biden administration said in January that it would review the peace agreement made with the Taliban during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Under the deal, the remaining 10,000 US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan are due to pull out by 1 May in exchange for Taliban security guarantees.

The Biden administration has now said that it wants to make sure the Afghan militant group is “living up to its commitments”, including cutting ties with terrorists and reducing violence, before withdrawing.

Levels of violence in the country remain high – with politicians, journalists, activists and women judges among those killed in targeted assassinations.

In Mr Blinken’s letter, the US secretary of state calls for a 90-day reduction in violence in Afghanistan and a new international peace effort – overseen by the United Nations – to help reach a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire”.

This, Mr Blinken warns, is urgently needed to prevent the security situation from deteriorating further.

The letter says the UN will be asked to convene a meeting of foreign ministers and envoys of regional powers, adding that Turkey would be the venue for a high-level meeting between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

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