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Meaning of US-Taliban Talks

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 17th August 2019 06:41
US, of course, would like us to believe that they are giving dictation to the Taliban.

Yet they could not field their own men or women to do the talking. They needed Zalme Khalilzad.

The reason is not difficult to guess - they just can not afford to give the impression to the world that they have been brought to their knees at the end of the day.

Militarily US is far more powerful than the Taliban or even Afghanistan. On the ground the US realized as long back as 2008 that it was time to quit Afghanistan and they also realized that they were nowhere close to declare it their victory.

The days of one sided affairs in the Muslim lands were over at that time itself.

The talks with Taliban that just concluded are a tentative sign of the new equation where the US, the sole western super power in the world, has started to talk to Muslims.

This can be taken as an end to encroachment on Muslim space in some field - which field is a question that is difficult to pin point at the moment.
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 17th August 2019 06:43
The Last Report on Talks


The latest round of talks between the Taliban and the United States on a deal to withdraw thousands of US troops from Afghanistan has ended and now both sides will consult with their leadership on the next steps, a Taliban spokesman said on Monday.

The eighth round of talks in the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar concluded after midnight and was “long and useful,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.

He made no statements on the outcome of the talks.

Last week, another Taliban spokesman had said a deal was expected to follow this round as both sides seek an end to the nearly 18-year war, America's longest conflict.

An agreement if reached is expected to include Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups in the future. However, both the militant Islamic State (IS) group's affiliate and al-Qaida remain active in the country. The Taliban stage near-daily attacks across Afghanistan, mainly targeting Afghan forces and government officials but also killing many civilians.

The deal also could include a cease-fire and stipulate that the Taliban would negotiate with Afghan representatives, though the insurgent group has so far refused to negotiate with Kabul representatives, dismissing the Afghan government as a US puppet.

There was no immediate comment on Monday from US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who on Sunday tweeted: "I hope this is the last Eid where #Afghanistan is at war."

In Afghanistan, Sunday was the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eidul Azha, which unfolded without any major violence reported in Afghanistan.

Khalilzad later added: “Many scholars believe that the deeper meaning of Eid al-Hadha is to sacrifice one's ego. Leaders on all sides of the war in Afghanistan must take this to heart as we strive for peace.”

Some in Afghanistan saw it as a response to President Ashraf Ghani, who on Sunday declared: “Our future cannot be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbours. The fate of Afghanistan will be decided here in this homeland. [...] We don't want anyone to intervene in our affairs.”

While Ghani insists that the upcoming Sept 28 presidential election is crucial for giving Afghanistan's leader a powerful mandate to decide the country's future after years of war, Khalilzad is seeking a peace deal by Sept 1, weeks before the vote.

The Taliban control roughly half of Afghanistan and are at their strongest since the US-led invasion toppled their five-year government in 2001 after the group had harboured al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. More than 2,400 US service members have died in Afghanistan since then.

The US and Nato formally concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014. The some 20,000 American and allied troops that remain are carrying out airstrikes on the Taliban and IS militants, and are working to train and build the Afghan military.

Source : The Dawn
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 9th September 2019 07:55
Latest News about the Talks


US was going to hold secret talks with the Taliban at Camp David but owing to recent Taliban attacks in Afghanistan canceled this event.

In an abrupt move, US President Donald Trump called off separate secret meetings planned with the Taliban and Afghanistan's president at Camp David.

Citing a Taliban-claimed deadly attack in Kabul last week, Trump also said he was cancelling the talks between the United States and the Taliban that started almost a year ago in Qatar in an effort to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

In a statement on Sunday, the Afghan government praised the "sincere efforts of its allies" and expressed its commitment to work with the US "to bring lasting peace".

A Taliban representative in Doha, who is part of the team that had been negotiating with US officials since October last year, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that the group has called a meeting to discuss its next move, without reacting further to Trump's move.

In a statement later on Sunday, the Taliban said the decision to call off the peace negotiations disclosed the US's "anti-peace" stance.

So what is behind the US president's decision and what does it mean for the future of negotiations?
What have the talks been about?

On September 2, the US and the Taliban concluded their ninth round of negotiations in the Qatari capital, with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad saying that a peace agreement had been finalised "in principle".

Since the talks began in October last year, the two sides' discussions over a potential agreement have focused on four key issues: a Taliban guarantee that it will not allow foreign armed groups and fighters to use Afghanistan as a launchpad to conduct attacks outside the country; the complete withdrawal of US and NATO forces; an intra-Afghan dialogue; and a permanent ceasefire.

The Taliban, which was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led military coalition for sheltering al-Qaeda, the group blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, has long demanded a complete withdrawal of foreign troops to "end the occupation" in Afghanistan.

Currently, there are about 14,000 US troops and around 17,000 troops from 39 NATO allies and partner countries in Afghanistan in a non-combative role.

The Taliban, which has long rejected calls by Washington and Kabul for a ceasefire, stepped up attacks in recent weeks, even as the negotiations in Doha were ongoing.

Last week, as the Taliban and US negotiators reached a draft accord, hundreds of the group's fighters overran parts of the strategic northern city of Kunduz.

Attacks were also launched in the provinces of Takhar, Badakhshan, Balkh, Farah and Herat, according to Afghan local media. The Kabul-Baghlan and Baghlan-Kunduz highways were blocked, too, due to the fighting.

The Taliban also claimed responsibility for two major suicide bombings that killed at least 30 people in Kabul, including one US soldier and one Romanian service member of NATO's Afghanistan mission.

Jeff Stacey, a former US State Department official, told Al Jazeera that although Trump's comments were unexpected, they showed a "serious" approach by a president who has been "very unpredictable" and inconsistent in regards to Washington's Afghan policy.

"It is positive sign, it confirms that it's been taken very seriously," he told Al Jazeera. "The fact the talks are cancelled just suggests that there is a little difficulty in the latest discussions," Stacey added.

"They are trying to move the Taliban further towards the American and Afghan government goals, so it's not really that big of deal - it's actually more positive than negative."

For Intizar Khadim, a political analyst in Kabul, Trump's move was "a negotiating tactic".

"I would not call it cancellation of the talks but rather a delay or suspension," he told Al Jazeera, predicting that Trump "will reverse" his latest move.

"It is a psychological pressure from the US government on the Taliban to concede a number of incentives that the Afghan government is asking from the United States."

The Afghan government, politicians and some members of the US administration who mistrust the Taliban say a deal that would see US troops withdrawing from the country could lead to a civil war in Afghanistan.

Following Trump's announcement, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office said on Sunday that "real peace" would only be possible if the Taliban stopped launching attacks and held direct talks with the government.

The Taliban has long refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, calling it a "puppet regime" that has no real power.

"The Taliban need to abandon a military solution, agree to a ceasefire, negotiate directly with the Afghan government and reintegrate into Afghan society," Lawrence Sellin, a retired US Army reserve colonel, told Al Jazeera.

"A return to an Emirate is a recipe for disaster and would likely lead to civil war and an epicentre of terrorism and jihad."

Is US legitimising the Taliban?

Meanwhile, the location of the secret meetings came as a surprise to many who pointed out that Camp David has long been a place reserved for summits attended by world leaders.

"Inviting the Taliban, who many consider a terrorist group, was a politically risky move both from the optics and from a greater likelihood of failure and embarrassment to the president," Sellin told Al Jazeera.

If such a meeting were to take place, it would also mean that Trump would host the Taliban just days before the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks.
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"I am frankly shocked that any presidential adviser would have recommended it. President Trump cancelled it for the reasons he stated - that is, the optics were unfavourable given the recent Taliban-claimed bombing in Kabul that killed an American soldier and many Afghans."

The apparent legitimacy offered to the Taliban was also "not acceptable" by many in Afghanistan, according to Faheem Dashty, a Kabul-based political analyst.

"They were complaining the way the US were promoting the Taliban and giving them ground to be recognised in an international way and in very high and credible manner, but after Trump's announcement, they will now they will feel under pressure."

In an article published in the Daily Beast, a senior European diplomat in Kabul said the Taliban was rather "rude with the US throughout the peace process because they have the impression that a withdrawal deal is a desperate desire of the USA, not the Taliban".
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 11th September 2019 09:46
A brilliant analysis of Trump's latest move to cancel US-Taliban tals by Oriya Maqbool Jan.

I am not a fan of Blackwater theory but the rest of the discussion is really good.
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 11th September 2019 10:10
US Veteran Suicide Rates


There is a document that says that about 20 US veterans die daily by committing suicide.

This is astounding.

US apparently currently has only about 14000 soldiers in Afghanistan. These many would commit suicide withing less than two years.

I just do not understand why we Muslims are not using these numbers in their analysis.

Strange.

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