Talks with the Taliban to put an end to the longest of America’s forever wars were killed off by the US last week. The Afghan militant movement is prepared to fight a hundred more years, its chief negotiator told RT. The peace negotiations between the US and the Taliban were called off by President Donald Trump days ahead of a planned signing of a formal agreement. The draft has even been initialed by both parties and Qatar, which mediated in the talks, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who headed the Taliban’s delegation, told RT. As far as the Taliban is concerned, the US decision can be easily reversed and the agreement put into force as agreed, he said.
“We are still committed to the negotiations. Our stance is that there is no solution to the conflict except negotiations and except peace on the table. We hope that Mr. Trump rethinks his announcement and comes back to where we were,” the official said.
Trump cited an attack by the Taliban, which killed a US soldier stationed in Afghanistan, as the reason for the surprise cancellation of the talks. The militants say their attacks were well justified by attacks against them by the US and the Afghan security forces. They see the Americans as a foreign occupying force and themselves as freedom fighters and protectors of the Afghan civilians, who are injured and killed when the US attacks the Taliban, which regularly conducts terrorist attacks.
Also on rt.com ‘No power to negotiate’? Trump scraps Afghan talks after Taliban attack, hints at ‘decades’ more war “The war was imposed on us. It is American soldiers who are in Afghanistan. It’s not our mujahedeen in Washington,” he said. He added that Trump’s justification for stopping talks clashed with statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who went appeared on TV the following day and said the US killed “over 1,000 Taliban” over ten prior days, as negotiations were under way.
“Mr. Pompeo admitted that they have killed a thousand Taliban,” Stanikzai pointed out. “If they can kill a thousand of us, why can we not kill one or two of them? This is our right. We have to defend ourselves and defend our people.”
Pompeo on Meet The Press: “You should know, in the last 10 days we've killed over 1,000 Taliban. And while this is not a war of attrition, I want the American people to know that President Trump is taking it to the Taliban.” pic.twitter.com/dXxQwzrYkD
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 8, 2019 The Taliban representative said the Trump administration proved to be no different to that of Barack Obama, which also held peace talks with the Afghan militants before ending them at the last moment. He questioned Washington’s commitment to resolving the situation and ending what is now a 19-year-long anti-insurgency war that the US apparently cannot win through military force.
“If the American side is not willing to negotiate and they do not want peace on the table, we will be compelled to defend ourselves,” he said.
We can do it for a hundred years.
Stanikzai reiterated that only after a formal agreement is signed and US troops are pulled out of Afghanistan would the Taliban be able to settle its differences with other political forces in Afghanistan, including the US-backed government in Kabul.
“We need a practical thing. When it is signed, there will be [a] ceasefire between us and the American forces. We will give safe passage to the American forces,” he said. “When they go out, inter-Afghan talks can start and a comprehensive ceasefire and other domestic issues can be discussed.”
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