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Taliban not tired of war: Ex-CIA official

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The ongoing negotiations between the US and the Taliban are a “charade” designed simply to provide the US a “face-saving way out of Afghanistan,” former CIA deputy director Michael Morell said as quoted by Axios. He also said that the Taliban are not tired of war.

US President Donald Trump wants to move quickly toward a deal to end the war in Afghanistan. But according to Axios, Morell is one of several experts and former officials warning that such a deal won’t secure peace.

“The president has said the Taliban is tired. That’s not true. The Taliban controls more territory than at any time since the 9/11 attacks and it seeks what it has always sought: to fully control Afghanistan as a one-party state,” Morell said as quoted by Axios.

He said a recent Taliban video that justifies the 9/11 attacks based on “interventionist” US policies — and threatens “vengeance” against Afghan security forces — “represents [the Taliban’s] true views” more clearly than anything told to US negotiators.

Despite the US red line that Afghanistan never again be used as a base for international terrorism, Morell said the Taliban would welcome al-Qaeda back into the country after a US withdrawal.

In a twitter post, Morell said he is not arguing the US should stay in Afghanistan. “I’m arguing we need to be clear-eyed about what will happen there when we leave and have a plan for how we can keep a close watch on Afghanistan from an intelligence perspective and how we can degrade them militarily if we need to do so,” he said. 

“This argument I’m making — that the Taliban is going to take over, al-Qaeda is going to have a safe haven — is exactly the argument the president made to stay in Afghanistan two years ago,” Morell said as quoted by Axios. “But we all know… [then-Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis kind of dragged him kicking and screaming to that, and the president wants out.”

This comes as Taliban group intensified attacking Afghan security forces and also carried out several deadly attack in public areas. In two separate incident, over 19 people were killed and over 40 others received injures within two days.

At least eleven civilians have been killed and 45 others were wounded in three consecutive blasts in Kabul, the capital city. The attacks, in which Taliban claimed one of it, came amid visits by two senior US officials to Kabul in order to push peace efforts and find a political settlement to Afghan conflict.

The second was a roadside blast in which at least nine wedding guests were killed and another four were injured. They were in their way to attending a wedding ceremony after their mini-truck, they were traveling in, struck by a militant placed roadside bomb in eastern Nangarhar province.

These civilian deaths come on Thursday, the day when U.S. chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford arrived in Kabul to “ensure Army Gen. Austin S. Miller, the commander of the Resolute Support effort in Afghanistan, has all he needs.”

Dunford also called on President Ashraf Ghani, where they talked over important issues. Presidential Palace said that President Ghani met US Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunfor, where they discussed counterterrorism efforts, Afghan peace process and other issues of mutual interest between Kabul and Washington.

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