Kabul fears chaos if NATO troops rush to exit


KABUL, Afghanistan

The Afghan government on Saturday warned of chaos and civil war in case of a haphazard withdrawal of the US and NATO forces without a peace deal in place.

Addressing a news conference in the capital Kabul a day after the Taliban warned the US against extending military presence beyond the May 1 deadline in line with the Doha Agreement, Afghan National Security adviser Hamdullah Muhib said the arbitrary withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan poses a risk of a return to civil war.

“If the Taliban hope for chaos in the country, God forbid, and to grab power, they are mistaken. No one wants the Taliban to return to power,” said Muhib who was flanked by the army chief Gen. Mohammad Yaseen Zia and Deputy Interior Minister Abdul Saboor Qaneh.

His remarks followed a New York Times report stating the U.S. intelligence agencies have told the Biden administration that the Taliban could overrun most of Afghanistan within two to three years if U.S. troops leave before a power-sharing deal is reached between the warring sides.

On Friday, the Taliban reacted strongly to recent remarks by US President Joe Biden and an extension of a military presence by Germany in the war-ravaged country.

In a charged statement, the group warned of “death and destruction” in case of violations of the Doha deal with the US.

It categorically warned against not withdrawing all foreign troops from Afghanistan on May 1 in line with the agreement with the US signed in Qatar.

Taliban warned of attacks across Afghanistan. “All responsibility for the prolongation of war, death and destruction will be on the shoulders of those who committed this violation,” according to a statement issued by the group’s spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed.

This comes as Germany agreed to extend its Afghanistan mission into 2022, pending approval by parliament. Under the draft agreed to by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet, German troops would stay until Jan. 31, 2022.

Germany has the second-largest contingent after the US in NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, with more than 1,100 troops in northern Afghanistan.


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