Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Biden administration reviews position on Taliban: Has the honeymoon ended?

Friday 28/April/2023 - 05:26 PM
The Reference
Mohamed Yosry


During the signing of the Doha agreement between Washington and the Afghan Taliban before the latter seized power in mid-August 2021, the United States was keen to choose a specific phrase that it put every time after mentioning the name of the Taliban, namely the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which the United States does not recognize as a state”, in a constant indication that the honeymoon between the two parties will not last long, despite their sitting at the negotiating table.


Position review

The United States began seriously reviewing its positions on the Afghan Taliban in early April by revealing a series of secret documents related to the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which indicated the failure of the American intelligence services to assess the situation during the withdrawal process and the subsequent events.

Those documents, which US President Joe Biden's administration recently declassified, led to disagreements between Biden and the former US administration headed by Donald Trump, amid an exchange of accusations between the two teams. Biden blames the Trump administration for not planning to withdraw appropriately and not establishing a clear mechanism for implementation or later scenarios.

The Biden administration inferred its accusations of the killing of 13 US soldiers in a terrorist attack on Kabul airport during the evacuations that followed the Taliban takeover of power, which resulted in the killing and wounding of 170 Afghans in a suicide attack targeting the airport, in addition to the huge number of refugees who fled the country, reaching 120,000 people in less than a week.

Meanwhile, former President Trump defended himself, stressing that these accusations are nothing but slander and misleading on the part of the current administration, saying that Biden bears sole responsibility.


Arena of terrorism

The documents recently released by the US administration were followed by others published by the Washington Post confirming that Afghanistan, under the Taliban government, has turned into an important coordination center for the ISIS-affiliated Khorasan Province, less than two years after the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

The document indicated - according to the newspaper - that ISIS was planning to target specific sites during the World Cup in Qatar, and that the US Department of Defense monitored about 15 plots during the period between last December and February, during which the organization was planning to launch attacks across Europe, Asia and the United States.

The documents included - according to the newspaper - planning attacks in every diplomatic post in the Netherlands, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Russia and Turkey.


Taliban reactions

Immediately after the publication of these messages, the movement accused the Pentagon of forgery, as Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a series of tweets, “We strongly reject reports published by some Western media, according to which a classified document of the US Department of Defense shows that Afghanistan has become a center for terrorism.”

“Afghanistan has become a safe country at the regional level, and Eid al-Fitr this year is a good example of that, as there were no security incidents in the entire country, and we are also witnessing progress and dealing with different countries on the political and diplomatic arenas,” he added.

“The publication of irresponsible and artificial allegations at such a time as the work of intelligence circles that do not want Afghans to live in peace,” Mujahid continued, noting that Afghanistan “has complete control over the country, and no one is allowed to use the territory of Afghanistan against the security of another country, especially the sedition group ISIS, which has been severely defeated and in the process of being eliminated.”


Expected accusations

Mohamed Abadi, a researcher in international affairs, pointed out that these accusations between Washington and the Taliban were expected from the beginning, as the level of trust between the Taliban and the United States does not exceed zero in all cases.

Abadi confirmed in exclusive statements to the Reference that the Taliban considers the United States its foremost and traditional enemy, and that their sitting together at the negotiating tables in Doha does not contradict the traditional hostility between them, just as the United States also did not forget the history of the Taliban overnight and did not forget that the movement’s operations against US forces in Afghanistan were among the biggest factors in Washington’s human and material losses there.

It is normal for similar documents to appear from time to time from different administrations revealing the Taliban's intertwined relations with armed groups in the region and the world, Abadi explained, noting that there was no honeymoon between the two parties and there never will be.