America to reconsider Taliban deal, reverse immigration plan
WASHINGTON: The Biden administration said it will review a landmark US deal with the Taliban, focusing on whether the insurgent group has reduced atacks in Afghanistan, in keeping with its side of the agreement.
Washington struck a deal with the Taliban in Qatar last year, to begin withdrawing its troops in return for security guarantees from the militants and a commitment to kickstart peace talks with the Afghan government.
But violence across Afghanistan has surged despite the two sides engaging in those talks since September.
President Joe Biden’s newly appointed national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, spoke with his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib and “made clear the United States’ intention to review” the deal, said National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne late Friday.
Specifically, Washington wants to check that the Taliban is “living up to its commitments to cut ties with terrorist groups, to reduce violence in Afghanistan, and to engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders,” her statement continued.
Washington’s move was met with a sigh of relief from officials in Kabul ater months of speculation over how the new administration would potentially recalibrate the Afghan policy. Mohib, the Afghan national security advisor, tweeted that during the call the two sides “agreed to work toward a permanent ceasefire and a just and durable peace” in the country.
Another top Afghan government official lambasted the Taliban’s failure to live up to the February 2020 deal, saying the agreement had failed to achieve its stated goals.
The United States also plans to reverse the Trump administration’s “draconian” immigration approach while working on policies addressing the causes of migration, Biden told his Mexican counterpart, the White House said on Saturday.
In a Friday call with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Biden outlined his plan to create new legal pathways for immigration and improve the process for people requesting asylum, according to an account of the call released by the White House.
Priorities include “reversing the previous administration’s draconian immigration policies,” the White House said.
The two leaders agreed to work together towards reducing “irregular migration,” the White House release said.
The US Census Bureau is suspending efforts to create neighbourhood-level statistics on the citizenship and age of residents, using 2020 census data, in the latest rollback of Trump administration census-related initiatives that critics feared would be used to favour Republicans and whites during the drawing of state and local districts.
As part of an order Biden signed on Wednesday on the 2020 census, the Census Bureau said Friday that it would discontinue efforts to create citizenship tabulations at the city-block level using 2020 census data combined with administrative records.
Among his first acts as president, Biden’s order revoked two Trump directives related to the 2020 census. The first atempted to discern the citizenship status of every U.S. resident through administrative records, and the second sought to exclude people in the US illegally from the numbers used for apportioning congressional seats among the states.
Meanwhile, in his first call to a foreign leader as US President, Biden spoke with Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on Friday on a number of topics and made plans to continue the conversation next month, Otawa and Washington said in separate statements.
During the conversation, which Canada said lasted approximately 30 minutes, the two leaders coveredeverythingfromthecoronaviruspandemic, which has led to the closure of the Us-canada border since March, to environmental protection.
Biden has also directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks ater a mob of insurgents loyal to Trump stormed the US Capitol.
The announcement on Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgment of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology. The involvement of the national intelligence office, created ater the Sept.11, 2001, atacks with a goal of thwarting international terrorism, suggests US authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home.
The threat assessment is being coordinated by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, and will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said. The National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be beter shared across the government.
Asked whether new methods were needed, she said: “More needs to be done. That’s why the president is tasking the national security team to do exactly this review on the second full day in office.”