Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (right) arrives at the Pakistan Foreign Ministry in Islamabad. File/AFP
The Taliban said their peace deal with the United States was nearing a breaking point, accusing Washington of violations that included drone attacks on civilians, while also chastising the Afghan government for delaying the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners promised in the agreement.
Historic deal signed by US Taliban on Afghanistan's future
Afghan government raises new concerns about US-Taliban deal
The Taliban said they had restricted attacks against Afghan security forces to rural outposts, had not attacked international forces and had not attacked Afghan forces in cities or military installations. The Taliban said these limits on their attacks had not been specifically laid out in the agreement with the US signed in February.
The Taliban's statement issued on Sunday warned of more violence if the US and the Afghan government continue alleged violations of the deal.
US military spokesman Col Sonny Leggett in a tweet overnight denied the Taliban allegation, saying the US forces in Afghanistan has "upheld and continues to uphold the military terms of the US-TB (Taliban) agreement; any assertion otherwise is baseless.”
In his tweet, Leggett called for Taliban to reduce violence and said the US military will continue to come to the aid of Afghanistan's security forces if attacked, in line with the agreement.
Meanwhile, the militants said they had reduced their attacks compared to last year, but said continued violations would "create an atmosphere of mistrust that will not only damage the agreements, but also force mujaheddin to a similar response and will increase the level of fighting.”
The Taliban have accused the Afghan government of using "indefensible arguments” to explain the repeated delays in releasing a promised 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 government personnel. The Afghan government's foot-dragging has also left Washington frustrated.
The latest information from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan shows an almost 30 per cent drop in casualties for the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year
Under a deal signed by the US and the Taliban last month, the insurgents agreed to commit to starting talks with the Afghan government and discuss a possible ceasefire.
Washington signed a landmark deal with the Taliban in February that promised the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from Afghanistan by next summer, provided the militants start talks with Kabul and adhere to other guarantees.
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