NEWS DESK: US President Donald Trump’s decision to reject talks with the Taliban will only trigger more attacks and will only aggravate the war, a former Taliban member has said.
Following a string of deadly assaults in the capital, Kabul, this month, Trump on Monday announced that Washington was not going to hold talks with the Taliban, which has been leading an armed rebellion since it was overthrown from power by US-led forces in 2001.
Responding to Trump’s decision, the Taliban said the war would “increase the human and financial losses of American troops”.
Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, said that there would be no solution to war in the country if there are no talks with the Taliban.
“US decision to put pressure on the Taliban by fighting them will only result in more bloodshed. This matter needs to be resolved through proper dialogue,” Zaeef told Al Jazeera.
“We know that the Taliban will be fighting as they have been for the past decades, so what is important now is to listen more, talk more.
“Let this country decide for itself according to its own culture and religion. The US will face failure if they decide to stay and fight more.”
“Presumably the Taliban knows the territory that it has won, and the government knows the territory that it has lost,” Peter Galbraith, a former United Nations’ Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan, told Al Jazeera.
“The only reason to suppress this information in the SIGAR report is to hide the truth from the American people.”
Former officials say the Afghan government and its ally, the US, are not capable of defeating the Taliban, and that in the case of Afghanistan, if victory is defined as one side defeating the other, it would only result in failure.
“The first step towards a solution is to recognise that the strategy pursued so far hasn’t worked. The US and its NATO allies are reluctant to recognise the truth in part because they have invested so much in a failed strategy. So, rather than admit error, the best they can do is propose more of what hasn’t worked,” Galbraith said.
“The Taliban don’t want to talk until they prove that they’ve defeated the US. And when they do, they will want to talk under their terms and conditions and would only be interested in how they are accommodated,” Marvin G Weinbaum, who served as an analyst for Pakistan and Afghanistan in the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, told Al Jazeera.
While the Taliban and Trump refuse to engage in talks, the armed group’s five-member Qatar-based delegation travelled to Islamabad, Pakistan, this month where representatives from other nations, including China, discussed a possible solution to the Afghan war. The US did not participate in the Islamabad talks.
“We submitted a report to our top leadership after the meeting in Islamabad. All the sides listened to each other on how to put an end to the war,” a Taliban official told Al Jazeera, confirming the trip to Pakistan.
“The more they (US) insist on staying in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, the more innocent people will die. This is a recurring mistake, and something should be learned from it,” Zaeef told Al Jazeera.