The US State Department confirmed to Al-Jazeera that it had begun a review of the classification of the Houthi group in Yemen as a terrorist organization, and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed his country’s intention to review the agreement signed with the Taliban movement a year ago.
A US State Department spokesman said to Al Jazeera that the ministry has begun reviewing the classification of the Houthi group in Yemen as a terrorist organization, and is working to take a decision regarding it as soon as possible.
The spokesman added to Al-Jazeera that the Houthi group bears great responsibility for the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, and it must change its behavior.
The spokesman stressed the importance of ensuring that humanitarian aid access is not impeded, stressing that Washington will continue to work with its partners to support a comprehensive political agreement that ends the conflict and resolves the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
With the start of Joe Biden taking office last Wednesday, Anthony Blinken, the president’s candidate for the position of Secretary of State, said that Washington would review the classification, after international criticism of this decision taken by the Donald Trump administration in its final days.
The United Nations described Yemen as witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 80% of its population in need of aid, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, and relief organizations warned that the blacklisting of the Houthis would lead to the disruption of relief operations.
On the other hand, the US National Security Adviser announced during a call with his Afghan counterpart Hamdallah that the United States intended to review the agreement signed between it and the Taliban in February 2020.
Sullivan said the review includes an assessment of whether the Taliban are fulfilling their obligations to sever ties with what he described as terrorist groups, reduce violence in Afghanistan, and engage in meaningful negotiations with the Afghan government and other stakeholders, he said.
Sullivan also affirmed that Washington would support the peace process in Afghanistan with “strong regional diplomatic efforts” to help the Afghan government and the Taliban achieve a permanent and just political settlement and a permanent ceasefire.
Sullivan considered “protecting the exceptional gains made by women, girls, and Afghan minorities” as part of the peace process.
In this context, the US Department of Defense said that Afghanistan was at the center of the first telephone conversation between the new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, without giving further details.
Under the agreement, the previous Trump administration promised to withdraw US forces from Afghanistan by May 2021, in exchange for counterterrorism guarantees. Before Trump left power, Washington had reduced the number of soldiers in Afghanistan to 2,500, the lowest level since 2001.