6,000 suicide bombers recruited if US fails to ink Afghanistan deal, warn Afghan Taliban
ISLAMABAD - Afghanistan peace deal could be the first step towards resetting Afghanistan’s future as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to witness the signing of the agreement and prepare the ground for a political settlement between the warring sides.
America’s top diplomat will stand with political leaders of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s former rulers who sheltered Osama bin Laden and his militant network until 2001 as he plotted and conducted the 9/11 attacks.
A statement from Trump on Friday said Pompeo would be present for the signing of the deal that will pave way for US troop numbers to drop to 8,600 from about 13,000 in the weeks following the deal.
Further reductions of western forces will hinge on the Taliban adhering to a “reduction in violence” pledge, a condition that will be assessed by the United States.
But prospects for war-torn Afghanistan’s future are uncertain. The agreement sets the stage for peace talks involving Afghan factions, which are likely to be complicated.
Under the deal, the Taliban wants 5,000 fighters to be released from Afghan-run jails, but it’s not clear whether the Afghan government will agree.
Some senior commanders of the Taliban who arrived in Doha for the signing ceremony said they will ensure that the US and Afghan governments accept all the conditions laid down by the group that controls about 40% of Afghanistan, according to Afghan defense officials.
Sources in the Taliban earlier this month said they were prepared to launch a spring offensive and had recruited more than 6,000 fighters if the agreement collapses.