The US Defense Department on Tuesday asked the Taliban to return to the peace negotiations, reminding them that the violence remains too high in Afghanistan.
“What we want to see, what we’d like to see is the Taliban return to the peace process in a credible way,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press briefing on Tuesday. “The violence remains too high, and we’re all aware of all of the security situation in Afghanistan.”
“I think you saw General Miller speak to that earlier today, concerns over the security situation there,” he added.
Referring to recent attacks by the Taliban, Kirby said, “We see events on the ground unfold, it certainly calls into question the sincerity of their efforts to be a legitimate, credible participant in the peace process.”
“That’s really the right future for Afghanistan as a political process that leads to a negotiated settlement and a peaceful end to the fighting in Afghanistan. And that’s what we’re in favor of. That’s what the administration’s policy continues to try to pursue,” Kirby said.
He said that once the withdrawal is complete, they will have will have two new mission sets at the Department of Defense: “One is to have a presence in Kabul that is sufficient to the task of protecting our diplomacy there. And two, to have a relationship with Afghanistan, a new bilateral relationship with Afghan forces that is designed to help continue their needs for competency and capability in the field.
But he reiterated that this support – to Afghan forces – will be over the horizon, over the horizon logistical support and some financial support.
He also said that the removal of US combat forces, which is what the retrograde is all about, ends the combat mission in Afghanistan for the United States.
On Tuesday, US and NATO forces commander Gen. Scott Miller said the United States will support the Afghan security forces as foreign forces leave the country.
Miller said that the Taliban’s expansion of violence makes it difficult to achieve peace.
The top US commander in Afghanistan said that the Taliban will not be able to win the war militarily and should stop the violence.
The withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan started on May 1. Since then, violence continues to increase across the country.
The peace talks between the Afghan Republic and the Taliban are stalled for the last two months following the announcement of the withdrawal of American forces by US President Joe Biden.