22:56 GMT04 March 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A US congressionally mandated study group recommended in a report released on Wednesday that the United States not rush to pull troops out of Afghanistan if the Taliban fail to abide by the agreement they struck with Washington last February.

    "If the Taliban have not clearly met the conditions of the Doha agreement, the United States should avoid rushing to withdraw troops by May 2021," the report from the panel convened by the US Institute of Peace said.

    The Afghanistan Study Group, a bipartisan task force established by Congress in 2019, is co-chaired by General Joseph Dunford and former Senator Kelly Ayotte.

    The US-Taliban deal signed in February of last year requires the US to withdraw all forces in exchange for counterterrorism assurances. However, US officials have said the Taliban have failed to split from al-Qaeda as required by the agreement.

    A Taliban official last week said they will shoot any Americans who remain in Afghanistan beyond the exit date.

    The Trump administration reduced troop levels in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 2,500.


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