KABUL: The foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan intend to stay beyond the May deadline set forth by the US-Taliban peace deal, recent reports revealed.
Quoting four senior NATO officials, Reuters on Sunday reported, “There will be no full withdrawal by allies by April-end.”
On the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, a NATO official was quoted as saying by Reuters: “Conditions have not been met. And with the new US administration, there will be tweaks in the policy, the sense of hasty withdrawal which was prevalent will be addressed, and we could see a much more calculated exit strategy.”
Meanwhile, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said: “There has been no decision made.” At their planned meeting on February 17-18, NATO defense ministers are going to address Afghanistan.
She said there are about 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, including Americans. Those levels are likely to remain approximately the same until after May; however, the NATO source said, the schedule beyond that is not explicit.
This comes two days after the national security advisor of US President Joe Biden, Jake Sullivan, said they were “taking a hard look” at how the Taliban complied with its deal with the US before determining how to proceed.