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Abdullah sows doubt about Taliban intention for peace

AT News

KABUL: Chairman of High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah says he doubts that the Taliban are keen for a political solution to the war as peace talks between Kabul and the militants are hitting snags with both sides still locking horns on contentious issues.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah warned that the Taliban are seriously miscalculated to think they are making military progress in Afghanistan. “The issue of Afghanistan will not be resolved militarily,” he said, “If they think they will win militarily, I repeat that the continuation of the war will have no winner”, he told the Associated Press while in Turkey to attend the Antalya Diplomatic Forum.

This is as the insurgents have been seizing control of strategic districts across Afghanistan in recent days, reversing two decades of military gains of Afghan security forces in rural Afghanistan.

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah said that the Taliban seem to have no interest for a political solution to the Afghan crisis. He added that some militant leaders believe they can take military advantage of the U.S. pullout to build up preponderance of power and that might be why they are not keen to take peace negotiations with the Afghan government seriously.

The Taliban have denied the allegations. Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban, said on Friday that the group had always wanted to resolve issues through dialogue and that they started talks with the United States and the Afghan government with that intention and that they are committed to continuing it.

This is as the violence has escalated in Afghanistan as both the Afghan government and Taliban blame each other in the talks and the US President’s decision to withdraw all troops from the country by 9/11 has fueled uncertainty. Although the reduction of violence in Afghanistan was part of the Doha Agreement between the United States and the Taliban, the scale of war and bloodshed has not diminished.

With an intention to fill the vacuum left by the U.S., Turkey was expected to host the Afghanistan Peace Summit before the full withdrawal of international troops, but to no avail so far.

Abdullah Abdullah said the meeting had not been canceled but that he wanted Turkey to host the meeting when the Afghan government and the Taliban were ready for serious talks.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, told the German magazine Der Spiegel a month ago that the Taliban knew they would not win the war militarily.

Khalilzad added that the Taliban had a choice between peace and war, and that he believed the Turkish summit would determine whether the group wanted to continue the war or end the long-running Afghan crisis through dialogue.

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