According to Al-Jazeera, the Taliban has said they “categorically reject” a statement made by the US commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan about “off-stage” dialogue taking place between Afghan officials and the armed group.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement on Thursday in which he called the claim by General John Nicholson “baseless”.
“American General Nicholson is making such fabricated statements to divert attention from his failures and keep the Washington media busy with false claims instead of exposing the failed [US President Donald] Trump strategy for Afghanistan to the American people,” Mujahid said.
“The policy of Islamic Emirate regarding talks and negotiations had been frequently announced and it does not have any secret layers.”
General Nicholson on Wednesday told reporters at the Pentagon from his Kabul office that “what you’re seeing right now is a lot of the diplomatic activity and dialogue is occurring off the stage, and it’s occurring at multiple levels.
“So you see mid-level, senior-level Taliban leaders engaging with Afghans.”
That statement is at odds with the Taliban setting the withdrawal of foreign forces from the country as a precondition for talks.
The US and NATO formally concluded their combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014, but still, provide support to the Afghan forces.
The US occupation in Afghanistan is increasingly fragile as the mujahideen take greater portions of the country and are estimated to threaten 70% of Afghanistan’s territory according to a BBC investigation earlier this year. But the US has no option but to remain, as explained for example by ex-Pakistan ISI chief Asad Durrani (reported last year in Pakistan’s Tribune). Durrani said the US wanted to keep a military presence in Afghanistan at all costs. “Essentially, the policy remains the same, and that is — you have dig in Afghanistan, stay there, keep the bases, keep the military presence, that’s more important than either peace there or settlement there or whatever else.”
Afghanistan, or more specifically, Khurasan, the mountainous area in the country, is a ‘sky fortress’, one of the most important strategic points on the entire globe, from which America can control Western, Central and South Asia, and present a challenge to both Russia and China beyond, facing no threat from anyone, except the Muslims who live there. With Allah’s permission, the Jihad will not cease, its leadership will not compromise, and the re-established righteous Islamic Khilafah (Caliphate) State on the method of the Prophet (saw) will support it with its armies to fully evict the disbelieving foreigner from this pure land.
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut-Tahrir