US-Taliban agreement hastened Afghan collapse, defence officials say

US-Taliban deal hastened Afghan collapse, defence officials say
Gen McKenzie said the Doha agreement had a "pernicious effect" on Afghanistan's government. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: Top US generals have said the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan can be traced back to an agreement between the group and the former US administration.

The so-called Doha agreement between Taliban and Trump administration was signed in February 2020 and set a date for the US to withdraw its troops.

Gen Frank McKenzie said the agreement had a “really pernicious effect” on the Afghan military and government.

Lloyd Austin, the US Defence Secretary, agreed, saying the agreement had helped the Taliban get “stronger”.

In addition to setting a withdrawal date, the Doha deal included broad obligations on the Islamist militant group to take steps to prevent groups such as al-Qaeda from threatening the security of the US and its allies.

After his election, President Biden continued the plan for withdrawal but with an end date of 31 August, instead of May.

On Wednesday, the US defence officials made the comments in testimony to the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.

The hearing is taking place weeks after a chaotic withdrawal at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport as foreign powers sought to get their citizens home and thousands of desperate Afghans begged for rescue.

A suicide attack killed 182 people during the operation, including 13 US service members.

Gen McKenzie, as head of the US Central Command, oversaw the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which marked the end of a 20-year presence in the country and America’s longest war.

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