Afghan Taliban have pressed the world community to ask the United States and its Western allies to leave Afghanistan instead of asking them to stop their armed struggle.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was responding to a question about the latest call for peace talks by foreign ministers of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan at trilateral dialogue held in Beijing on December 26.
A joint statement
In a joint statement, the three sides had called on the Afghan Taliban to join the peace process “at an early date”, while reaffirming that a broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation process, which, they said, was “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned”, and fully supported regionally and internationally.
The Taliban seemed unconvinced with the trilateral meeting’s demand and instead advised the international community to press the US and NATO to “end the invasion as it is the only solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”
“The world community should put pressure on the US to quit our country and end its brutality. War has been imposed on us. The US wants to continue the war,” the Talibani spokesman said.
“Reconciliation could start when foreign troops leave Afghanistan. The presence of the US military is a threat to the whole region,” he said, in reply to a question posted on his WhatsApp account.
The remarks are an indication that Taliban have not shown any flexibility for talks with the Afghan government, which they consider as powerless. However, they insist they are ready for talks with the US to discuss with them “timing” for the withdrawal of the foreign troops.
“There is no change in the Taliban stance about the talks with the Kabul administration as any such act will be considered a deviation from the set principles of Mullah Omar and Mullah Akhtar Mansour (former Taliban chiefs),” a Taliban leader argues. He requested not to be identified by name as no Taliban leader is authorised to speak to the media and only the spokesman can make comments.
- US forces have increased airstrikes against the Talibani positions after President Donald Trump unveiled his strategy for South Asia and Afghanistan in August that mainly focuses on war and little on political option. Trump’s policy
- This was not received well by regional stakeholders and even divided Afghan leaders and former president Hamid Karzai slammed Trump’s approach. Trump has also reportedly called for closure of the Taliban office in Qatar, which is the lone address to contact the Taliban political envoys.
Nazar Mutmaeen, a Kabul-based commentator and author of a book ‘Six days with Talibani leaders’, says all efforts for political negotiations face a deadlock at present in the wake of Trump’s new strategy.
“I think as the (Trump) policy builds up pressure on the them, they have also changed their war strategy. Now they largely focus on guerrilla war tactics instead of fighting in groups. At the same time the Afghan government too prefers war. So there is no chance for peace talks,” Mutmaeen told Daily Times from Kabul. (IANS)