In a conversation with Afghan National Security advisor Hamdullah Mohib, President Biden’s National Security advisor Jake Sullivan once again relayed that the Biden administration will review and assess the Doha Agreement, signed by the Trump administration and the Taliban. Sullivan also ensured US support “for protecting the extraordinary gains made by Afghan women, girls, and minority groups.”
A White House statement about Sullivan’s call with Hamdullah Mohib says that Sullivan “made clear the United States’ intention to review the February 2020 US-Taliban agreement, including to assess whether the Taliban was living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders.”
The review of the agreement and the Biden’s administration’s intention of “consulting closely” with the government of Afghanistan, NATO allies, and regional partners has been welcomed by Afghan women’s human rights groups, Afghan politicians, and the media at large.
In a cabinet meeting, the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, welcomed the Biden administration’s review and called it “a new chapter” in the US and the Afghan government’s relationship. President Ghani and his government were sidelined under the Trump administration and were not part of the negotiations between the US and the Taliban. While welcoming the news, Ghani said, “Our relations will be at the level of government-to-government.”
During his confirmation hearing last Tuesday, Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he will review the Doha Agreement between the US and the Taliban and emphasized protecting and supporting the hard-won gains of Afghan women.
The Doha Agreement was signed by Taliban leadership and Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation in February of 2020. The agreement was followed by negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as part of the deal between the US and the Taliban.
The Intra-Afghan talks began September 12th of 2020 and lasted for 84 days. During that period, the two sides only agreed on procedural matters. The Afghan government’s negotiators as well as the Taliban are back in Doha since January 7th to resume the second round of talks. However, the teams have not met over the last two weeks.