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.
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