Taliban does not want ‘a share of the power’

As the US and China continue to push for Afghan peace negotiations, the Taliban maintains that it wants no part in sharing power with the existing Afghan government. In a statement released on its official website, Voice of Jihad, that mocked US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s recent statement that “the Taliban’s existence in Afghanistan was only a temporary phenomenon,” the group concluded with the following [emphasis mine]:

The Islamic Emirate has not readily embraced this death and destruction for the sake of some silly ministerial posts or a share of the power. On the contrary they epitomize the nation’s hopes and aspirations for a just and peaceful government that will strive to build our beloved nation on the basis of Islamic law, social justice and national interests.

The people of Afghanistan readily sacrifice their sons to achieve this objective. And the Emirate – as the true representative of our people – will not end its peaceful and armed endeavors until we have achieved this hope of Afghanistan.

“This objective” mentioned in the above quote is the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s official name of its government. The Taliban has insisted from the very beginning that it will settle for nothing less than regaining full power. In its most recent statement, the Taliban discusses the Vietcong and its protracted fight and ultimate victory in outlasting the US in Vietnam:

Has Ashton Carter forgotten that the Americans made similar statements about the Vietcong during the Vietnam War and yet – some forty years later – the Vietcong (or its successors) are very much alive and in control of their country?

The Taliban continue to deftly manipulate Western leaders’ desire for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan in order to extract concessions. But the Taliban will not denounce al Qaeda, and will not settle for anything less than a full return to power.

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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  • Gary says:

    While the Taliban has a point about Vietnam… that was our sad choice to lose, considering we were down to 40,000 troops during the Easter offensive, and still beat the commies so bad that only then did they come to the Paris peace talks. It was a political decision not to keep supporting the South with air power and money. But besides that, the commie project was a massive economic failure and eventually they turned to the China type model with a stock market, and labor force for international companies. Now the irony is that ‘Nam turns to the US for help against China. Hopefully we learned from our mistake of abandoning Afghans after the cold war, and dont do that again. But it requires Pakistan to be all in to beat the Taliban, and the only way that is going to happen is by long term commitment to regional stability which includes Afghan, Pak, India, China, etc… with the US helping to bridge gaps. All the while holding firm against Taliban trying to take total control.

  • Mike Smith says:

    This wont’ stop the State Department and the Office of the Special Representative from holding “peace talks” by themselves in an empty room, however.

  • gary says:

    Ha, ha, ha,…., what goes around.., comes around, de ja vue, all over again…, ya betcha Yogi!!
    How ironic.., China is supporting our efforts this time, has this teeny weeny adjacent border with Afghanistan, has its own issue with Islamic militants. Pakistan is a secular, Westernized, nuclear power. Can chose to disarm and withdraw support the Taliban. They need the super-dupper gas and oil pipeline and mineral wealth everyone wants out of Kazakistan and Afghanistan. For that to happen, what is necessary? Stability!!! A government. Nobody really cares which belief system or philosophy prevails, as long as it is stable. The prime directive? To make 100’s of billions of $$$$ transporting gas and oil to the world. Rare earth minerals, and gems. This has been a plan for the past 50 years. yes! Everyone knew the safest and most economical way to get the valuable stuff out was pipelines and highways through Afghanistan, Pakistan to Karachi port and adios. $$$$$$

  • Vikram says:

    Agree completely with the article.

  • Mike Smith says:

    There was no need to “support the South Vietnamese with air power.” The South Vietnamese Air Force was the 4th largest air force in the world. North Vietnam essentially had no air force, and never operated aircraft in South Vietnamese airspace. What South Vietnam lacked was (1) a government South Vietnamese men were willing to die for, and (2) the will to win. The exact same thing is true of Afghanistan today.

  • RanaSahib says:

    The Taliban are hamstrung with their continuing desire for “national interest.” This is not going to happen.
    Afghanistan has never been an independent regional power: its government’s survival has always depended on regional alliances. If Pakistan is out, India is in and vice versa.
    If neither country makes a commitment, then the Islamic State stands ready to assist. But only if the Taliban will acknowledge their Caliphate.
    The Great Game goes on.

  • Tony Valachi says:

    Expecting Pakistan to beat Taliban is expecting it to beat itself, Taliban is Pakistan and Pakistan is Taliban.

  • Tony Valachi says:

    Everything is not about Oil and Gas. You know who got the mining rights in Afghanistan? Its not the US but China. Also, the KAPI Gas pipeline project hasn’t yet started and even though Taliban has promised no attacks on Gas pipeline passing through their area but its still a promise. Pakistan has gotten stuck between devil and the deep sea. It needs money but in order to get money it will have to deal with the monsters it created. Operation Zarb e Azb was a part of that and its going to fail and so will there attempts to convince Taliban from not targeting the gas pipeline. By the way, when you call Pakistan a secular, westernized country it only shows your lack of knowledge and understanding.

  • TRM says:

    Gee, the TB wants it all. Wow, what a surprise!

  • TRM says:

    Pakistan is a secular Westernized power? On which planet?

  • Gart says:

    Ahhhhh, yes, the Great game, Afghanistan the orphan everyone wants to adopt.,,, oops no. Foster.
    Take, manipulate, $$$$$$, strategize, advantegize. The Great game.

  • fern says:

    VietNam was the wrong war period 1) miscalculation by the French as they thought that after the Japs defeat they could go back in and lord it over the Viets. The French just escaped and left the Viets to their own devices and they learned to fight. The French sent their best troops “the foreign legion” with the best equipment from the US and they lasted till 1954 and Dien Bien Phu. The sad part is that Allen Dulles had talks with Ho Chi Minh and a deal could be had but since he studied in Moscow, Congress rejected him and the war started again JFK sent aides and it is a proven fact he did not want a heavier involvement in Nam till he conveniently died and LBJ came up with escalation calling VietNam a pissant country. Such arrogance made me an anti VietNam war activist while not being a peacenik.
    The French later on tried it with Algeria with the same result.
    While these were not “global” attitudes it has become so with the new leaders in the middle east of whom most are Phds in Islam and a Muslim who disagree is cold meat and their goal is convert and conquer the world.

  • arslonga vitabrevis says:

    One can never be defined by anothers lack, but by ones own character. Diplomacy, compromise, negotiations are what makes the world go round, not tyranny and absolute power. One does not stop negotiating because another is stuck in dysfunction. It is best to take note, make observations and move forward because there is no such thing as status quo, even in absolute tyranny. There is always a grain of sand about to move an avalanche. This is wisdom. Absolute tyranny is a fools game. Control is an illusion. Al Zawahari’s only hope is to cause brief and disjointed chaos, there is nothing civilized or noble in his processes. He is merely a terrorist and will never be able to build an enduring or honorable society.

  • arslonga vitabrevis says:

    It is not just about your $$$, it is about stability too. You can’t have one with out the other. Look at the economy at this moment. It is not stable and no one wants to take a risk for further loss. Civilization, commerce, human rights – the creature that man is requires him to get his ducks in a row, all of them.

    Without the constant fighting in the middle east there could be the profit and progress China has seen, for its inhabitants.

    A cease in the conflicts benefits all parties.

    Unfortunately there are times when some parties want absolute control and nothing actually works that way.

  • arslonga vitabrevis says:

    They are there own worst enemy.

  • Jon Z says:

    The north vietnamese did in fact have an air force. They also used it outside of their borders. Famously, in Laos, there was an actual dogfight between North Vietnamese AN-2 colts and American Huey helicopters. That example is historic trivia, though.

    The lesson we failed to learn in Vietnam or Iraq is that the process of Vietnamization does not work. We can equip and support the regimes we prop up as much as we like, but if the locals don’t have the political will to fight no equipment or support will keep them in power. No equipment or support will indefinitely stave off a determined adversary who is willing to take casualties.

    The Iraqi army abandoned their equipment in the field with a ten to one numeric superiority over IS rabble. The governor of Sangin Province took to Facebook to plead for renforcement AFTER the year long seige of Konduz.

    There are models of Western success out there, but, maddeningly we keep returning to a cult of air power and proxies that hasn’t worked in fifty years. This is rooted in domestic US politics.

  • Arjuna says:

    “But it requires Pakistan to be all in to beat the Taliban, and the only way that is going to happen is by long term commitment to regional stability…”
    True dat. America should join hands with Russia and China (and India) to create a multi-national, unified anti-Pakistan alliance that denies Pakistan any military aid until the Taliban are defeated once and for all and Pakistan stops using its territory for terror training camps. To sit down across the table from child rapists and genocidal murderers is an affront to all we fight for. Kerry is a yellow surrender monkey who will soon be history. I was just in Vietnam. They’ve forgotten the war. So should we. We need to look at ourselves today, and the future in terms of how we defeat the enemy. 58,000 brave souls died. Honor them by winning the Long War, and that means confronting the backstabbing Paks and Saudis.

  • john says:

    afghanistan has been a regional power before pakistan has ever existed and over india for more than 700 years. The only reason any and everything is existing is because outside western powers are pitting the afghan people against each other exploiting their weaknesses for their interests. So we have western powers exploiting pakistan and pakstan is enjoying it because they from being exploited while they the ISI pashtun relatives of the militant factions exploit the western powers for their brotherly gain. India on the other hand has been ravaged since the beginning of their civilization and still is as we speak just in a quiet way. At the same time America is being ravaged by the taliban military.. the USA is almost collapsing due to the quagmire we are in…. They have outsmarted US military by losing little of their resources while we got sucked dry… total taliban military victory. Who wins… people who benefit from war, who loses the regular people.

    “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without even fighting”. sun tzu.

  • Steve says:

    As per Vietnam, I was listening to a couple generals in about 1978 talk about their careers as they mutually shared their most bitter disappointment was the USA’s choice to pull out of Vietnam when the USA was winning. One more concentrated year of force and half the Chinese army would have been wiped out, too, they said.

    Immediately there were cries of ‘Liar!’ from the audience in that several stated that the two generals had lost their minds. The generals quietly explained that the Red Army was sending replacements at a never-anticipated rate–to more catcalls–and intelligence recovered earlier that year indicated that some in China were calling to allow Vietnam ‘to fall’ if the war continued on for another year. The audience, then in 1978, howled.

    I had two high school classmates that were infantry and they both mentioned that their individual squads noticed the increase in the percentage of Chinese soldiers vs. the Vietnamese soldiers that were killed just by their units during their 13 months. So yes, I, too, believe that we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory there.

    It does matter, in any organization, what kind of leader it has as to its ultimate success or lack of it.

  • John says:

    If you stand back and look at the big blue marble perspective of things.., it is a nuclear, westernized, educated state. If not, it wouldn’t know how to exist and play the great game and survive responsibly with all the big boy toys. It would have imploded, exploded irresponsibly in a war with India 60 years ago. It is a sophisticated, parliamentary governed society, no matter what your beliefs. The proof is in the pudding.

  • Dennis says:

    Oh…where to start, after our involvement, of all ironies, China decided to “teach” Vietnam a lesson. Due somewhat to Chinese stupidity about wearing recognizable insignia, they got their asses kicked by Chuck. Anyone been there?


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