On Tuesday, Germany warned against a withdrawal of US and other foreign forces from Afghanistan by the May deadline agreed to under the US-Taliban peace deal that was signed in February 2020.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the withdrawal should be based on the progress of the intra-Afghan peace talks, not the deadline. Maas said the “these peace talks won’t be over” by the deadline and that the coalition doesn’t have to “hang on slavishly to the date of the end of April.”
Maas’ comments come as the prospects for an Afghanistan withdrawal seem more and more unlikely. NATO officials have already said foreign forces will remain in Afghanistan beyond the deadline. The Biden administration is accusing the Taliban of not upholding its end of the deal and the Pentagon said the pullout date is uncertain.
Germany, the US, and NATO all cite the fact that violence between the Taliban and the US-backed government hasn’t ceased as a reason to stay. But staying in Afghanistan will only prolong the violence.
With reports saying foreign troops will stay beyond the Spring deadline, the Taliban is vowing that the fighting will continue. Taliban attacks on US troops have subsided since the deal was signed. If the US stays, those attacks could start up again.