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.