The United States and its NATO allies officially began withdrawing their forces from Afghanistan, after they had participated in military operations there for nearly twenty years.
A spokesman for the Taliban movement said that the US forces’ delay in withdrawing from the agreed upon date was a violation of the agreement reached last year. This means that the militants are not obligated not to attack the foreign forces, he added.
On Friday, representatives from Afghanistan, the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan called for a commitment to peace during the withdrawal process.
Violent clashes were reported in Ghazni province, as Taliban militants raided a military site.
US officials in Afghanistan said the withdrawal process has been going on for some time, putting an end to the longest running US war.
The United States had pledged to complete the withdrawal no later than 2020.
US helicopters were seen in the skies over Kabul and over the nearby Bagram base, and greater than usual activity was detected in the sky of the region while preparations for the withdrawal were in full swing.
And Afghan security forces have been put on high alert to face any possible attacks on the retreating US forces.
“The Americans will officially withdraw from Afghanistan starting on the first day of May,” the acting interior minister, Hayatullah Hayat, told police commanders, according to an audio recording obtained by press reporters.
The advisor to the Afghan National Security Council, Hamdallah Muhib, said: The Taliban “may resort to war, in an attempt to seize power after the withdrawal of American forces, but” the security forces are ready to confront the insurgents. “
The end of the US military presence in Afghanistan came despite the ongoing fighting in different parts of the country, in the absence of a peace agreement.
The attack took place on Friday, south of the capital, killing 24 people and wounding 110, reminding the country of what awaits the country after the departure of US forces in the absence of an agreement.
It is noteworthy that US President Joe Biden is determined to end what he called “permanent war”, announcing last month that the withdrawal of 2,500 military personnel still in Afghanistan will be completed by the twentieth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001.
He added that the horrific attack 20 years ago is no reason to stay in Afghanistan in 2021.
The Taliban said that the withdrawal of US forces should have been completed by the first of May in accordance with the agreement reached last year with Washington, and that the remaining forces after that date “violates the agreement.”
“This opens the way for our mujahideen to take appropriate steps against the invading forces,” Taliban spokesman Muhammad Naeem told AFP, adding that the fighters were awaiting orders from the leadership.
Taliban militants have not attacked foreign forces since the agreement was signed, but insurgents have ruthlessly attacked government forces in the countryside and launched a campaign of terror in cities.
The withdrawal of US forces is exacerbating the fears of ordinary people. “Everyone is afraid that we are going back to the dark days of the Taliban,” said Mina Norouzi, who works for a private local radio station.
“The Taliban have not changed. The American forces had to extend their stay in Afghanistan,” she added.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani insists that government forces, which have carried out most of the military operations against the Taliban over a period of months, are able to rein in the insurgents.