Taliban seeks Russia's support to force US out of Afghanistan!
16 September 2019
In a strange quirk of fate, Taliban, created jointly by the Unites States and Pakistan to fight Russian forces in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, is now reported to be seeking Russian support against the United States.
Following the collapse of talks with the United States this month, the Taliban has sent a delegation to Russia to discuss prospects for a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, reports citing sources from the insurgent group said.
Taliban is annoyed at the US President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the planned meeting with Taliban leaders at his Camp David retreat and is now looking for regional support.
Besides Russia, Taliban representatives are expected to visit China, Iran and some Central Asian states.
"The purpose of these visits is to inform leaders of these countries about the peace talks and President Trump's decision to call off the peace process at a time when both sides had resolved all outstanding issues and were about to sign a peace agreement," said a senior Taliban leader in Qatar.
Russia, which has hosted meetings between the Taliban and Afghan political and civil society representatives, said this week it hoped that the process could be put back on track and urged both sides to resume talks.
"We are convinced that the complete end to foreign military presence is an inalienable condition of durable peace in Afghanistan," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
US and Taliban officials held months of talks in the Qatari capital Doha and agreed a draft accord that would have seen some 5,000 US troops withdrawn from Afghanistan in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.
However, the deal, intended as a preliminary step to a wider peace agreement, faced heavy criticism from the Afghan government, which was not made a party to the talks. Many of the former senior US officials who had worked in the region also warned against a hasty destabilising withdrawal that risked a plunge to a new round of civil war.
Trump announced the cancellation of the Camp David meeting via Twitter after a suicide bomb attack in Kabul killed at least 12 people, including a US soldier. He subsequently described the talks as dead and said US forces would step up operations against the Taliban, who control more territory now.
The draft accord did not include a ceasefire agreement and violence continue unabated in Afghanistan.
Afghans mostly welcomed the cancellation of talks as violence and civilian casualties have increased during the duration of the peace process.
They also were critical of US decision to engage Taliban saying it gave unnecessary legitimacy to the militant group, who are bent on establishing an ‘Emirate state’ again.
Taliban has threatened to spill more US blood since the peace talks were first called off. On Wednesday, hours before the US observed the anniversary of 9/11, the Taliban fired a rocket at the US Embassy in Kabul. On the following day, a suicide car bomb killed four soldiers at a commando base in the Afghan capital.