Taliban attack threatens fragile peace talks, says Pentagon

Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby condemned the Taliban attack on Kandahar airport calling it a ‘disruptive’ move that provokes more violence. Ahead of the May 01 deadline for American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, on April 07, the Taliban militants targeted Kandahar airport which serves as a key airfield for the US and NATO forces. The militant group landed rockets outside the Kandahar airport, said the Pentagon in a report, published today, Thursday, April 08.

The attack has not inflicted any damage or casualties, according to the Pentagon.

The attack on the Kandahar airport comes days after a Taliban spokesman threatened that the group would resume military campaign against forces if the US government did not meet the May 01 timeline.

Under the Trump administration, last year the US government signed a peace deal with the Taliban that bound the US to withdraw its forces by May 01 this year and obliged the Taliban to cut ties with al-Qaeda and engage in direct peace talks with the Afghan government.

In February 2021, the newly-elected US President, in his first visit to Pentagon as commander-in-chief, signaled that he would extend the US military presence in Afghanistan beyond the May 01 deadline set in the US-Taliban peace deal signed on February 29, 2020.

US President Biden has repeatedly said it would be difficult to meet the May 01 deadline. Last week, he said the US was in discussion with allies about the timeline which termed a ‘difficult deadline’ but retreated that he was working to end the war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Kandahar airport, which comes less than a month before the deadline for US forces to completely withdraw from Afghanistan. The attack comes ahead of decisive peace talks to be hosted by Turkey in the coming weeks.

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