Afghan government negotiating with the Taliban in Sangin

According to this report in Khaama Press, the Afghan government is openly negotiating a “peace deal” with the Taliban in Sangin, which was overrun by the jihadist group in June:

Negotiations between Taliban militants and Afghan officials continue in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan in a bid to end the violence which sparked over a month ago.

Gen. Asadullah Sherzad, commander of the special police forces, said the negotiations continue between the local tribal elders and Taliban militants.

Dozens of people including Afghan security forces members and civilians have killed following heavy clashes between the Taliban militants and Afghan forces which sparked late in June.

Local residents in Sangin, Kajaki, Mosa Qala and Nawzad districts are saying that sporadic clashes still take place between Afghan forces and Taliban militants, despite the officials claimed that Taliban suffered heavy casualties and were forced to retreat.

In the meantime, Gen. Sherzad said peace negotiations are currently focused on Sangin district

and talks on other districts will be held later.

He said their peace talks with tribal elders & the militants had a positive impact on the security situation and security incidents in Sangin & other districts had declined but further improvement required some more time.

According to Gen. Sherzad, the Taliban commanders have said they are willing to join peace process and have admitted that they are tired of the war and violence.

The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

Three quick points:

1) The Afghan government and military are, to put it mildly, insane if they believe that the Taliban will abide by a peace agreement. History in both Afghanistan and Pakistan shows that the Taliban have used peace agreements to either regroup from losses or move on to their next conquest. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan and other Taliban groups took control of much of northwestern Pakistan between 2004 to 2009 as the Pakistani military signed peace agreement after peace agreement. In Afghanistan, look no further than the futile “peace deal” in Musa Qala in Helmand that began in October 2006 to see how the Taliban used it to their advantage.

2) We are constantly hearing about how the Taliban are exhausted from fighting and want peace. (See here for reports of exhausted Taliban seeking peace, from 2013 [and another], 2012, 2011, 2010 [and another], and 2009; there are many more, this is but a sampling.) Yet the Taliban keep fighting. It is about time to retire this canard.

3) The Taliban’s high command has repeatedly said it has no interest in a peaceful resolution to the war. It has consistently said it will not participate in a coalition government, and that only the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is an acceptable outcome.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • CuriosityKilledtheCat says:

    A serious question here. Why don’t the United States and the Afghan Governments just round up all the old Mujahadeen Veterans and the unemployed throng of young people that infuse the cities of Afghanistan, give them weapons, lots of MRE’s, air support, horses and promise them bounty money, land, and even more bounty money for Taliban corpses in southern Afghanistan and Pakistan?
    It worked in 2001 with hundreds of Special Operators why would it not work in 2014 with TENS OF THOUSANDS of Internationals in the country?
    Why do we continue to fight this war by the enemy’s game? Let’s use the locals and our best assets, air power and money, to annihilate the Taliban, not ground troops who will just uselessly step on IED’s and incur the wrath of domestic public opinion. France’s intervention in Mali also comes to mind.

  • Evan says:

    I think maybe the Afghan “government,” is just insane….
    Any attempt at placating or negotiating with terrorists in general, but especially the Taliban, is pure folly, and an absolute fools errand. So, I suppose in that context it makes perfect sense that the Afghan “gov.” would attempt to negotiate with them.
    The other point that really gets me with regards to the true nature of the Taliban, and in turn, the true nature of the Obama administration, is the “renounce terrorism in general, and Al Qeada in particular,” sticking point of the so called “peace process.” it’s absurd to me that the current administration continues to push this point as if it is anything but the daftest pipe dream.
    The Taliban could not be less interested in peace…
    The Taliban will NEVER renounce AQ. They are one and the same. The distinction drawn between these groups is a shortcoming of western intelligence in general, and a deliberate attempt at misdirection, nothing more.
    We know that OBL discussed this very same thing….
    And even kicked around the idea of rebranding AQ, thus was born “Ansar al Sharia,” which is just another AQ front group.
    So, instead of trying to excuse the Taliban for their evil deeds and somehow make a distinction between them and AQ, or LET, or MJN, or any other terrorist group, we should employ a strategy of lumping ALL of them together, wether they’re AQ, or IS. We should be doing everything we can to kill these “people,” any where that they are….
    Cktc, I like where you’re going, but I don’t know if I would describe the Northern Alliance as ” old mujahideen vets and a throng of unemployed young people,” cause that’s not who we were partnered up with back in 2001…..
    Also, timing is critical in war, and something very significant had taken place in Afghanistan a day prior to 9/11…..
    Bin laden had dispatched 2 Tunisian, I believe, assassins posing as cameramen, to kill Ahmad Shah Masood, the famous anti Soviet mujahideen commander from the Panjshir valley.
    They waited 2 days to be granted an audience, but no one thought to inspect the camera equipment, which was packed with explosives.
    Also, by the time we got there, the Taliban had been running the show for years, building up a great deal of resentment in the process, and that certainly enabled our ability to go in and link up with the Northern Alliance and push the Taliban into Pakistan so quickly.

  • Mr T. says:

    Yes, the Taliban are tired of fighting. The Afghans need to surrender so the Taliban can stop fighting.
    But wait, they won’t stop. They will just continue their conquests into neighboring areas.
    Oh, I see, once the whole world surrenders to the Taliban, then they can stop fighting.
    But wait, they won’t stop them either. They will continue to fight about who is in charge and who gets to divide up the spoils.
    They will only stop fighting when they are killed.


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