The Taliban threatened to launch attacks on U.S. and NATO troops on Saturday as the May 1 deadline for the complete withdrawal of foreign troops brokered by the Trump administration came and went.
Why it matters: President Biden announced last month that the U.S. would begin withdrawing troops from the country on May 1 but would not finish until Sept. 11, and the Taliban in response vowed to resume attacks on U.S. and NATO personnel.
What they’re saying: “As withdrawal of foreign forces from [Afghanistan] by agreed upon May 1st deadline has passed, this violation in principle has opened the way for IEA Mujahidin to take every counteraction it deems appropriate against the occupying forces,” Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson, said in a statement on Saturday.
The big picture: The Taliban said it would not attend any peace conferences until all foreign troops have left Afghanistan, Axios’ Dave Lawler reports.
- The Taliban boycotted a peace conference in Istanbul meant to encourage efforts to end the war in Afghanistan and sketch out a possible political settlement between the group and the Afghan government, Al Jazeera reports.
- As of now, there are around 10,000 NATO troops in the country, of which roughly 3,500 are American.
The Pentagon is also preparing for possible Taliban attacks on U.S., NATO and coalition forces because of the passed deadline, AP reports.
- Taliban fighters overran a key army base held by the Afghan military in the southeastern Ghazni Province on Saturday, capturing dozens of soldiers and killing several others, according to Voice of America.
- A vehicle bombing in Afghanistan’s Logar Province on Friday killed at least 25 people and injured more than 60, including multiple high school students.