The Afghan Taliban has pressed the world community to ask the US and its Western allies to leave Afghanistan, saying “reconciliation could start when foreign troops leave Afghanistan.”
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid’s comment came amid the latest call for peace talks by the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan at a trilateral dialogue in Beijing on December 26.
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,” Daily Times reported.
“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 Taliban 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 the Taliban have not shown any flexibility for talks with the Afghan government, which they consider as powerless. However, the Taliban 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 Taliban 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.