The Taliban do not follow through on commitments, says US Defense Secretary.

WASHINGTON: United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Tuesday that Taliban were not living up to their commitments under an agreement signed this year, amid signs the fragile deal is under strain by a political deadlock and increasing Taliban violence.

After lengthy talks behind closed doors, the Taliban and signed an agreement in February for reduced violence and a move toward talks with the Afghan government, but attacks by the group have increased since then.

"I don't think they are," Esper told reporters when asked if the Taliban were living up to their commitment.

He added that he believed the Afghan government was also not following through on its commitment. The Afghan government was not part of an agreement between the United States and the Taliban .

Esper said the Afghan government and the Taliban "both need to come together and make progress on the terms that (are) laid out."

Progress in the transition to negotiations between the militant group and the Afghan government has been slowed, in part by the political dispute between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, who claimed to be Afghanistan The legitimate leader of the disputed elections in September.

The political deadlock comes as the Taliban has increased the pace of violence.

The Taliban have mounted more than 4,500 attacks in Afghanistan in the 45 days since signing a deal with the United States that paves the way for a U.S. troop drawdown, according to data seen by Reuters.

The United States is continuing it's drawdown of forces in Afghanistan , which are expected to reach about 8,600 troops in this summer.

Senior Western, Afghan and independent officials tracking the situation on the ground say the increase in attacks shows the insurgent group's deliberate disregard for a promise to reduce violence made as part of the deal signed in late February.

Violence in the war-damaged nation has coincided with the rapid spread of infection.

comments