Taliban have no plans to abide by terms of peace deal: US officials

TEHRAN, Mar. 07 (MNA) – American officials say, according to collected persuasive intelligence, Taliban have no intention of abiding by their peace agreement with the US.

"They have no intention of abiding by their agreement," one of the American officials told NBC News, undercutting what has been days of hopeful talk by President Donald Trump and his top aides.

Trump himself acknowledged that reality in extraordinary comments Friday, saying the Taliban could "possibly" overrun the Afghan government after US troops withdraw.

"Countries have to take care of themselves," Trump told reporters at the White House. "You can only hold someone's hand for so long." Asked if the Taliban could eventually seize power, Trump said it's "not supposed to happen that way, but it possibly will."

The intelligence described by the American officials is consistent with what Taliban sources have been saying in Pakistan. Those Taliban representatives say the group views the peace process as a way of securing the withdrawal of American "occupiers," after which it will attack the US-backed government in Afghanistan.

On February 29, the US and Taliban signed a peace deal that could signal the end of the US's longest war after nearly two years of protracted negotiations in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Diplomats from Afghanistan, the US, India, Pakistan and other UN member states gathered on Saturday morning along with Taliban representatives at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, a five-star resort overlooking the Persian Gulf where the peace deal was signed.

On March 2, Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said that Iran will continue its talks with the Taliban and with the Afghan government's knowledge, adding that the US-Taliban pact will not affect the talks.

“The Taliban as a group that exists and plays a role in Afghanistan is an undeniable fact. What Iran insists on is that all paths to peace in Afghanistan should pass through intra-Afghan consensus and that they must be led by the central government and all Afghan parties and groups should be included in them,” Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

MNA/PR

News Code 156429

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