Taliban rejects US general’s call for reconciliation

Hours after The FDD’s Long War Journal noted the Taliban would likely reject US General John Nicholson’s call for reconciliation, the Taliban did just that yesterday.

Nicholson, the commander of US Forces – Afghanistan and Resolute Support, was quoted in a press release announcing the death of Mullah Abdul Salam, the Taliban’s shadow emir for Kunduz province:

Salam’s death is an opportunity for change. The people of Afghanistan want peace and the Government of Afghanistan is committed to achieving peace through reconciliation. The Taliban know the only path forward is reconciliation.

US, European, and Afghan officials had been urging the Taliban to reconcile for well over a decade. But the Taliban had proven unwilling to negotiate a peace deal and join the government, even after suffering setbacks.

Taliban spokesman Zabihulllah Mujahid rejected the call for reconciliation in a statement entitled “Response by spokesman of Islamic Emirate to comments by General Nicholson.” Predictably, Mujahid said that the Taliban would fight until NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan and “accept the lawful demands of the valiant Afghan,” which means the return of a Taliban government. The crux of Mujahid’s argument is quoted at length below:

The Muslim Afghan nation views you Americans with the same eye as the invading English and Soviets and with the blessing of Jihad and help of Allah, will throw you out of their motherland in a similar fashion.

We do not view the martyrdom of Mullah Abdul Salam as failure or regret but as honor and victory which has intensified the thirst for revenge of the people of Kunduz and Afghanistan. It has revealed the truthfulness of the Mujahideen and has further increased the love for Mullah Abdul Salam and his companions in the community. Understand that we are a nation that loves martyrdom in the path of Allah as you love the short life of this fleeting world.

These are not our emotions or assumptions talking but are the realities which forced over one hundred and fifty thousand fully equipped troops to kneel.

If you do not end this occupation and accept the lawful demands of the valiant Afghan nation then this nation (Allah willing) will force you out of Afghanistan as the commander of US and NATO forces with all your might and technology just as this resistance broke, deranged and forced out your most celebrated commanders and experienced generals.

It is high time that US officials and military commanders put an end to calls for the Taliban to reconcile. After 15 plus years of war, the Taliban has proven to be a committed enemy unwilling to compromise to achieve its objective of ruling Afghanistan again. The Taliban an al Qaeda remain close allies to this day. When US leaders plead with the Taliban to make peace, they deliver the Taliban all of the fodder it needs to score a propaganda victory and show how disillusioned the US remains about their enemy.

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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  • Paddy Singh says:

    Love watching the Americans on their knees when initially then went in with absolute arrogance, thought they had won the war, when all it was a tactical retreat for the Taliban. They need people like Trump, getting kicked up their backsides by the Taliban and Iraqis.

  • Ross says:

    The only way clear is give back Afghanistan or really try to destroy them. Giving back Afghanistan doesn’t make any sense, because they will use it to plot future terrorist attacks. No the Taliban must be run to ground. Completely destroyed even. A new Muslim nation must be born there that is not seen as corrupt, beholden to outside powers, and completely replaces the Taliban.

  • Ken says:

    A call for reconciliation with the Taliban is asking to reconcile with evil. It seems like a strange thing to call for coming from the U.S. military. Maybe it’s just a political move so the U.S. can say it tried to be nice before dropping the big one.

  • SuchindranathAiyerS says:

    The Quran and the Hadiths demand submission by the Kuffar. There is no space for “reconciliation”. The CIA has prevented the US from knowing what Taliban means.

    Talib means “student” (of the Quean and the Hadiths). The term gained currency when the large numbers of Taliban (students) indoctrinated in Saudi-Qatari-Kuwaiti –Brunei etc Petro Dollar funded Sunni Mosques and Madrassas, all around the World, to carry out Mahomet’s injunctions to establish his form of banditry and rapine on the rubble of all civilization began to make their presence felt.

    They were mobilized and trained in a US-Pakistan established Military Academy called Al Qaeda (the Base) by instructors recruited from Baader Meinhof, Basque, Irish Republic Army, Ex British SAS and French Foreign Legion mercenaries, Drug Cartels and others by the CIA.

    The Pakistan-Arab-Islamic agenda then and now remains to carry out Mahomet’s injunctions and establish a Caliphate over the rubble of ALL civilization. The US objective was to get the USSR out of Afghanistan. The Pakistan Army comprises, largely, Taliban, like Musharaff himself. ISIS. Jaish e Mohammed, Harkat ul Mujahideen, Al Shebab, Boko Haram, Indian Union Muslim League, the Pakistan Army and others are different regiments of the same Caliphate comprising different bodies of the same Taliban. The rest is Taqiya, Murram, Kitman, Tawriya (Deception ordered by Mahomet)or whatever.

    Daesh (ISIL to Obama, ISIS to the media and Islam as per the Quran and the Hadiths) has repudiated the Taliban oath of fealty to the Guardian of Muqqa and Madhina (The Tent of Saud). Other than this, they are Taliban.

  • irebukeu says:

    The Taliban gave up governance rather than negotiate. I would speculate that they see time as still on their side-that they are a clear trajectory towards power. I doubt now that they would buckle and compromise to any degree unless it violated no Sunni islamic principle, lined up somehow with the code of Pashtunwali (meaning basically that it costs them nothing) and helped them to attain total power.

    It is no wonder deals cannot be reached. There is no reason to even sit down and talk.
    Security will be an issue for the foreseeable future.

  • jack says:


  • Hebob says:

    And I love when people impute ideas, conduct and “ways of being” to over 320,000,000 in what is the most diverse country in the world. Or hadn’t you noticed?

  • Hebob says:

    As someone who grew up with the “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” mantra, the fact that anyone (it is from within Afghanistan as well that there are calls to invite the Taliban “back” from Pakistan, and China as also recently suggested the same) would suggest reconciliation (does that word suggest there was once ‘conciliation?’) is so odd that it does lead to speculation. Why here? Why now? Why?

  • kimball says:

    You have to hand it to Pakistan, they lie as easily as they breath. Swat valley and north is free infiltrating zone to Badakshan , Kunduz and to the northern border. They are dangerous middleman and steady incubators for new fanatic cannonfodder. Dubai is the biggest money laundering spot on the planet. Quatar , Saudi pumping in millions and millions of US$ to keep the whole area unbalanced. Iran the bogeyman for US? Some see it different, as did your late president. There are a lot of players involved but a deal between Russia, India , China and Iran could totally isolate Pakistan and force them to tack in a new direction but who can afforde the house of Saud to implode or highrises in Dubai to be blown up! It is a good game for Israel right now.Turkey is edging to their own kind of facism too.

  • Arjuna says:

    ISI attacks Kabul with chem weapons and VBIEDs in a large, coordinated assault, and what does Uncle Sam do? He reaches to reconcile with (surrender to) the very same Taliban that are trying to destroy Afghanistan. Nicholson must want another campaign ribbon and a nice retirement ceremony before he goes fishing in Florida. We are tired of this war.
    Please hand me the remote, I wanna change the channel, Mommy.
    These one-eyed Monsters are scary!

  • Arjuna says:

    I think that the ISI makes all the Taliban’s strategic decisions for it. They pretend ugly Mullah Unpronouncable has some authority, just like they did w old one-eye MMO, but the ISI control the offensives and the bigger attacks. No boot on Pakistan means no boot on the Taliban.

  • Arjuna says:

    Pakistan double-crossed US just like your Irish friends double-crossed the Brits in 1916.
    Mushie and his ISI (Hamid Gul) gave sanctuary to OBL, Zawahiri, et al.
    Soon we will tire of the Pakistani games and take their guns away.
    Taliban fight to the last other mother’s child suicide bomber; and they love blowing up innocent people, just like Sinn Fein.

  • Arjuna says:

    Kill Mullah Unpronouncable, kill Zawahiri, destroy the Quetta Shura, out and try their ISI sponsors, sanction, boycott, embargo and disarm Pakistan.
    There certainly are steps we could take towards victory, but we seem blocked.
    ISI have wrongfooted US but good, while they hide their Golden Egyptian Goose.

  • Kal Singh says:

    Tell us more!!!! LMAO you are one pissed off person :p

  • Evan says:

    The issue as I see it, is that, much like Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia etc, and the VC’s use of very blurry border situations, and the tactic of running into south Vietnam to cause havoc, and then fleeing back into the jungle of another nation state to rest and rearm,
    Afghanistan and Pakistan are no different, as long as we allow the rats to have a nest, they will, as long as we don’t challenge, find, and kill them ALL,
    in the mountain passes that lead from the supposed FATA, straight into Afghanistan, there’s going to be attacks in Kabul. The only way to fight a war is to win it, and despite what paddy Singh thinks, I assure you friend, we’ve still got our swagger, and not one of us cares what you think about it.

    I got to go fight the “students,” I got to fight Haqqanis and Chechens, Indonesians, Uighers, Afgans, Uzbeks,

    And guess what Paddy?

    Those dudes aren’t here anymore,
    their gone bro….

    I’m still here. Living life.

    So don’t try to knock the shine.

  • Joe says:

    I haven’t focused much on the Afghan war since I left the military, but not much appears to have changed based off of what I read on this site. The US strategy seems to be going nowhere. The Taliban have shown resolve and appear committed to resisting for as long as it takes. Zabihullah’s message hasn’t changed over the years, and it’s important to note that it is a carefully crafted propaganda message. It’s difficult to know with any certainty how strong the resolve of their troops and leaders are. Thus, we must rely on what we’ve witnessed over the past decade, and that is that they do have a lot of resolve. I believe the US public doesn’t have an equal amount of resolve to continue throwing blood and money at the war. That’s the power of home field advantage. The Taliban have nowhere else to go so they’re more motivated to continue fighting. Often, they are better able to gain the trust of the populace because of a shared culture/kinship. Sometimes they gain influence because they have a greater presence and are more ruthless. Taliban leadership sanctuaries in Pakistan, Pashtun culture, societal pressure, religious fanaticism, and the humanitarian restrictions on US military force (though admirable from a humanitarian perspective) are key factors that have brought this war to a stalemate. If the US can’t figure out how to stop the Taliban’s funding or convince Pashtuns that they (and their cultural beliefs) are safer without the Taliban, I doubt the situation will improve. We left Vietnam. We should leave Afghanistan. If the Taliban continue to fight the Afghan govt and eventually win, yes they may give sanctuary to AQ again – or they may find it not worth the risk of another US invasion. I don’t know. There are diverse opinions on that subject among the Taliban themselves. What they appear united on though – is to fight until every foreign soldier has left Afghanistan. I think it’s becoming more dangerous for the US to continue spending its resources on such a war. There are other threats in the world. We need strong leaders to reexamine what we stand to gain/lose by remaining there – and who can clearly articulate why we should stay or why we should leave. For the Afghans who want democracy and to be rid of the Taliban, they need to figure out how to start winning without American assistance if they want to control their country.


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