US intelligence agencies have warned the Biden administration that the Taliban could overrun most of Afghanistan within three years if US troops leave before a power-sharing deal is reached between the warring sides, a news report said on Friday.
Such a takeover potentially would allow al Qaeda to rebuild in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported, quoting anonymous US officials.
The Biden administration is reviewing last year’s agreement signed between the US and the Taliban in Doha do decide whether it will withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by May 1.
The Times said that some US officials who favour keeping US troops in Afghanistan are using the intelligence report to argue that the soldiers should remain beyond the deadline.
The classified intelligence assessment was prepared last year for the Trump administration, the Times said.
Biden in his first press conference on Thursday said it will be hard to meet the May 1 deadline for getting troops out of Afghanistan for “tactical reasons.”
Asked if he envisioned US troops in Afghanistan a year from now, Biden said he cannot “picture that being the case.”
Responding to Biden’s comments, the Taliban on Friday warned that delay in American forces presence in the country will be seen as a violation of the Doha agreement and that all future responsibility for the continuation of violence will be on those who violate the deal.