Taliban founder Mullah Omar lived next to a US base in the Afghan province of Zabul for years, Dutch journalist Bette Dam claims in her new Dutch-language book “Searching for the Enemy.”
“The US, and almost everyone else, had it wrong,” Dam, who spent eight years researching the Taliban leader, wrote in an English-language excerpt. “After 2001, Mullah Omar never stepped foot in Pakistan, instead opting to hide in this native land — and for eight years, lived just a few miles from a major US Forward Operating Base that housed thousands of soldiers.”
When Aziz Gilan was posted last year to help try to secure a notorious district south of the Afghan capital, his police unit should have been around 80 strong.
Instead when he was deployed to Baraki Barak in Logar province, shortages meant the headcount was only 25 and in the months of fighting with the Taliban that followed it dwindled further.
As bombs and ambushes mounted, nine of his colleagues were killed and six more badly wounded.
Such casualty rates among Afghan forces are not unusual. More than 17 years after the Taliban regime was ousted and after America alone has ploughed more than £60bn into the Afghan security forces, they are dying at the rate of hundreds per month.
That is the likely outcome but perhaps the best reason to leave. Kleptocracy’s do not make good allies.
The American efforts to make a peace deal with the Taliban tends to ignore several key issues. First, the Taliban are a threat mainly because of the revenue they obtain by cooperating with the drug gangs. Second, the Taliban and the drug gangs operate because of cooperation from the Pakistani military (who control the Pakistani government). Third, the majority of Afghans are quite blunt about the fact that they will not tolerate a Taliban dominated Afghan government and if one does get into power there will be another civil war. Most Afghans, and the historical record, show these three items are what are really preventing peace in Afghanistan. The Americans and their NATO allies can withdraw all of their troops from Afghanistan but within months the violence and Islamic terrorism will have returned and that was what brought those foreign troops to Afghanistan in the first place. That was complicated by the fact that the only land access was via Pakistan, Iran or Russia
The Taliban extinguished Kamila Sidiqi’s hopes of becoming a teacher the day she graduated from training college.
As she proudly received her qualification in September 1996, Taliban militiamen entered her home city of Kabul to begin their forbidding five-year-long rule.
Overnight, a place at university or a job were out of the question for the 18-year-old. Girls’ education and women’s employment were banned. She could not leave the house without a burka and chaperone.
The peace talks went on uninterrupted, a marathon session for six intense days, yet barely a moment in a war that has lasted so much longer.
Still, U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad emerged from the negotiations with the Taliban in Qatar last month with a message of hope, choosing to broadcast his message via a social media platform that didn’t even exist when the conflict in Afghanistan began.
Having assumed his assignment to end the longest war in American history, Khalilzad was upbeat. He went so far as to signal during a recent interview with a local television station in Kabul that “it is possible” to reach a peace deal with the Taliban before this year’s presidential elections in Afghanistan – now delayed until July.
As he began his presidency Donald Trump had the right idea about Afghanistan: “Let’s get out.” However, he surrounded himself with conventional thinkers who thwarted his wishes and refused to provide him with withdrawal options. After two years of additional, unnecessary American deaths, he apparently again is pushing for troop cut-backs.
Perhaps for this reason, administration officials are negotiating with the Taliban seeking a peace agreement that will allow an American pullout. The Kabul government, which purports to be both an essential U.S. ally and legitimate representative of the Afghan people, is on the outside looking in.
Taliban peace negotiators have said they are committed to guaranteeing women their rights under Islam – but failed to dispel fears that any deal will lead to a roll-back of the fragile freedoms gained by women in the past 17 years.
US and Taliban negotiators have agreed on a draft framework for a peace deal seeking to put an end to the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan, Washington’s top negotiator has said.
US negotiators held six days of talks with the Taliban in Qatar last week.
The Afghan president has made a new call for direct talks with the Islamist group, but they have so far refused, dismissing the government as “puppets”.
The group ruled the country from 1996-2001 and remain a top insurgent force.
Taliban officials said U.S. negotiators on Saturday agreed a draft peace deal stipulating the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan within 18 months of the agreement being signed.
The details were given to Reuters by Taliban sources at the end of six days of talks with U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar aimed at ending the United States’ longest war.
While neither side released an official statement, Khalilzad tweeted later that the talks had made “significant progress” and would resume shortly, adding that he planned to travel to Afghanistan to meet government officials.
And what will change when their gone? Nothing beyond an increase in murder for Allah. It is and will remain an Islamist shithole nation likely to spawn terror attacks on the west.
The Taliban have launched a major attack on an Afghan military compound in central Maidan Wardak province, officials have said, with some putting the death toll at more than 100 people.
Monday’s incident at a campus of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) is the latest in a series of deadly attacks in recent months by the Taliban, which has seized control of about half of Afghanistan.
The Afghan authorities said the attack started on Monday morning, when a US-made armoured Humvee vehicle was driven into the compound and blown up. Gunmen also opened fire, before being killed by security forces.
German police have arrested a 50-year-old Afghan-German man suspected of passing military secrets to Iran.
Federal prosecutors named the army linguist only as Abdul Hamid S. He is understood to have known details of German military operations in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors said he was suspected of “having passed on his knowledge to an Iranian intelligence service”.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Iran for various alleged spying operations.
Bizarre footage has emerged purportedly showing Taliban fighters being put through their paces in a training exercises.
Masked men are shown in a video – said to have been captured in Afghanistan – leaping through burning hoops, sparring with wooden sticks and struggling through group press-up routines.
They can also be seen performing leap-frogs over the shoulders of their fellow ‘fighters’ in the clip, which has not been verified.
Bizarre? Maybe but the Taliban face little difficulty against government troops.
President Trump’s decisions to withdraw from Syria and to start drawing down the number of our troops in Afghanistan should come as welcome news to all Americans. The pointless wars in the Middle East and the Hindu Kush have been going on since 9/11—longer if you count the entirely unnecessary incursion into Iraq in 1991—and have brought only misery in their wake. If Trump does nothing else but put an end to the endless wars bequeathed to us by the house of Bush, his will have been a consequential presidency.
KABUL/PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN — U.S. and Taliban officials have discussed proposals for a six-month cease-fire in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops as talks aimed at setting up peace negotiations went into a second day, Taliban sources said.
The three-day meeting in Abu Dhabi is at least the third time that U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has met Taliban representatives as diplomatic efforts to end the 17-year war have intensified this year.
Pull out from Afghanistan in the works? Makes sense.
Losing to the Taliban is not winning. But there is a way out.
The United States used to win wars. Today, however, the United States military has been mired in the War in Afghanistan since 2001 — with no hope of winning. Not only has the war gone on without resolution, but the once-unquestionable dominance the United States military exerted in the country has been degraded to such a point that the American-backed central government in Kabul is likely going to fall to the Taliban once the last American troops leave the country.
During a Thanksgiving phone call to the troops, President Donald J. Trump — a long-time critic of the War in Afghanistan — put an airman in Afghanistan on the spot when he demanded to know how “things were looking” in Afghanistan to the low-ranking officer. After much fumbling, the airman gave the standard Pentagon line: the Taliban is a tough opponent and has retaken ground the Americans previously liberated from them, but that good old-fashioned can-do spirit of the American military would push the United States to victory.