Wakht News Agency
The International Security Assistance Force ISAF in Afghanistan in a statement on Wednesday strongly rejected a report on ceding southern Afghanistan to the Taliban.
ISAF strongly rejects any talks with the Taliban in which the United States and Taliban were falsely reported in a Pakistani based Express Tribune to cede control of southern Afghanistan to the Taliban said Rear Admiral Beck, ISAF Director of Public Affairs as quoted in a statement.
“The reports by media outlets in Pakistan and Afghanistan on negotiations to give control of southern Afghanistan to the Taliban are absolutely not true,”.
“Our objectives remain the same—deny Al Qaeda sanctuary and prevent the Taliban from retaking Afghanistan. To do this Afghan and Coalition forces are destroying or degrading the insurgents’ infrastructure; building up the Afghan National Security Forces; and ultimately enabling the Afghan people to stand up against their enemies, Beck said in the statement.
“Together we are making indisputable progress, though significant challenges remain. We are focused on facilitating the conditions which will lead to transition and sustainable solutions in Afghanistan,” said Rear Admiral Beck, in the statement.
“The United States had offered the Taliban elusive leader, Mullah Omar the control of the south of Afghanistan if they were ready to leave the north for the other political forces under American influence in order to end conflict, a Pakistani newspaper, The Express Tribune said.
“The acceptance of such a proposal could not be possible for the Taliban as it could lead to the disintegration of Afghanistan,” former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Gen (retd) Hamid Gul was quoted by The Express Tribune as saying.
The US-Taliban communication is quoted in the newspaper to be facilitated by a former Afghan Taliban spokesman, Dr. Mohammad Hanif.
Wakht News Agency reporter discussed the issue with an Afghan political expert, Noorul Haq Olumi who said that such a proposal had also earlier been discussed by the countries involved in the Afghan conflict to cede the control of southern Afghanistan to the Taliban, but it would never put impact on the war to be ended nor the country to be disintegrated.
“Durand Line was an imposed pact on the Afghans but it could never tackle the security problems; so the plans to divide the country into two parts of north and south between the Taliban and Afghan political forces under the US influence would never be accepted by the Afghan nation”, Olumi said adding Afghan people would never allow their country to be disintegrated as they had a mixed culture and common target-shown in the course of history.
So far, several claims have been made by the US about negotiations with the Taliban but Islamabad and Kabul have never been taken into confidence over the much speculated-about talks, the news paper added.
“According to reports, the US had offered the Taliban control over the south of Afghanistan, while leaving the north for the other political forces under American influence. However, this was rejected by the Taliban, the source said without naming any special source.
The newspaper quoted a Pakistani diplomat in Kabul as remaining optimistic about the talks as saying “The Taliban are aware that they will be difficult to defeat foreign troops in Afghanistan, or capture the entire country,” he said, adding, “Similarly, the US is also aware that it cannot defeat the Taliban in the next few years.”
On the other hand, a senior official in the Foreign Office is not as sure of the success of the US-Taliban talks. “Such talks are bound to fail as Washington is trying to achieve its goals without taking [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai into confidence, the newspaper said.
Central Asian diplomats in Islamabad have also expressed their doubts about the practicability of the US-Taliban talks, the paper said, however didn’t name a special diplomat.
“On the one hand, the US is building six permanent military bases in Afghanistan, and on the other, talking about the withdrawal of its troops from the country,” an ambassador of a Central Asian state was quoted by a Foreign Office official as saying, according to the paper.
The paper said Iranian and Russian diplomats in Islamabad are also doubtful of an actual and meaningful US-led foreign troops’ pullout from Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, chief of the Afghan High Peace Council Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani told the Afghan House of Representatives earlier this month that his council had made contacts with the Afghan Taliban, the paper quoted.
Rabbani was quoted by the paper as further telling the Afghan house of people that the Taliban were not willing to trust the Afghan government’s reconciliation process. “The Taliban nurse doubts about Kabul’s initiative”.
The council had previously said it had made direct and indirect contacts with the Afghan Taliban leadership, but the Taliban still seem to be insistent on their call for a withdrawal of US and Nato forces from Afghanistan as a pre-condition for talks with Kabul.
A former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan Rustum Shah Mohmand is also doubtful about success of the so-called Afghan reconciliation effort as he told The Express Tribune that those who are enjoying government privileges in Afghanistan are not interested in the success of the effort.
Report and edit: F. Akhgar