Biden Administration to Review the U.S.-Taliban Agreement

The Biden administration pledged U.S. support “for protecting the extraordinary gains made by Afghan women, girls and minority groups.”

Biden Administration to Review the U.S.-Taliban Agreement
An Afghan girl poses for a photograph in front of U.S. Army Col. Kevin McDonnell (right) and Afghanistan National Army Col. Nahji Bulla (center) at the Asheiy School in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Mike Buytas, USAF / Creative Commons)

The Biden administration plans to review and assess the Doha agreement, signed by the Trump administration with the Taliban, Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan relayed in speaking with the Afghan national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib. Sullivan also ensured the U.S. support “for protecting the extraordinary gains made by Afghan women, girls and minority groups.” 

According to a White House statement about Sullivan’s call with Hamdullah Mohib, Sullivan “made clear the United States’ intention to review the February 2020 U.S.-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 administration’s intention on “consulting closely” with the government of Afghanistan, NATO allies and regional partners have 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” between the U.S. and the Afghan government’s relationship.

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President Ghani and his government was sidelined under the Trump administration and were not part of the negotiations between the U.S. 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 also told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that he will review the Doha agreement between the U.S. and the Taliban and emphasized on protecting and supporting the hard-won gains of Afghan women. 

Biden Administration to Review the U.S.-Taliban Agreement
“Any agreement that trusts the Taliban to police Al-Qaeda and ISIS without us having any say in that would be a bad deal,” Blinken said. (Paul Morigi / Flickr)

The Doha agreement was originally signed by the Taliban leadership and Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation under Trump, in February of 2020. The agreement was followed by negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, as part of the deal between the U.S. and the Taliban. 

The Intra-Afghan talks began Sept. 12, 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 Jan. 7 to resume the second round of talks. However, the teams have not met over the last two weeks. 

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Makhfi Azizi is the director of the Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has been working with the foundation in this capacity for two years and works on issues of human rights, peace and security. Makhfi is dedicated to women’s equality, peace and democracy.