Claim that Taliban don’t intend honouring peace deal with US

NBC news report: “U.S. government has collected persuasive intelligence that the Taliban do not intend to honor the promises they have made in the recently signed deal with the United States

A week ago Afghanistan’s Taliban, US sign agreement aimed at ending war

US officials and Taliban representatives have signed an agreement after months of negotiations in Qatar’s capital that is aimed at ending the United States’s longest war, fought in Afghanistan since 2001.

Saturday’s agreement, signed in Doha in the presence of leaders from Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, will pave the way for the US to gradually withdraw its troops.

In a statement, the Taliban said it had reached an agreement “about the termination of occupation of Afghanistan”.

“The accord about the complete withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan and never intervening in its affairs in the future is undoubtedly a great achievement,” it added.

Earlier on Saturday, the Taliban ordered all its fighters to halt fighting and “refrain from attacks”.

For his part, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the Taliban to honour its commitments.

“I know there will be a temptation to declare victory, but victory for Afghans will only be achieved when they can live in peace and prosper,” he said at the Doha ceremony.

Minutes before the agreement was signed, a joint statement released by the US and the Afghan government said the US and NATO troops would withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months.

About 14,000 US troops and approximately 17,000 troops from 39 NATO allies and partner countries are stationed in Afghanistan in a non-combatant role.

“The United States will reduce the number of US military forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 and implement other commitments in the US-Taliban agreement within 135 days of the announcement of this joint declaration and the US-Taliban agreement,” the joint statement said.

Abut the following day Afghan Government Objects to Elements of US-Taliban Peace

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, speaking at a news conference less than 24 hours after the agreement was signed, questioned several elements of the deal, including the timeline for a controversial prisoner exchange and the conditions surrounding the start of talks between the Taliban and his government.

Yesterday Afghans Wonder: Is the Peace Deal Just for Americans?

The Taliban, for their part, are now saying more clearly than ever that the peace deal signed Feb. 29 in Doha, Qatar, after 18 months of negotiations applies only to a truce with U.S. forces, not to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. “We signed an agreement with the Americans. But our jihad is not over,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Foreign Policy this week. “The stooges who supported the invaders during the last two decades are our enemies. This might change after additional talks but at the moment, we are still at war.”

So it looks like it isn’t a peace deal, but rather a way of getting the US out of Afghanistan.

Today U.S. has persuasive intel Taliban do not intend to abide by terms of peace deal, officials say

The U.S. government has collected persuasive intelligence that the Taliban do not intend to honor the promises they have made in the recently signed deal with the United States, three American officials tell NBC News, undercutting what has been days of hopeful talk by President Donald Trump and his top aides.

“They have no intention of abiding by their agreement,” said one official briefed on the intelligence, which two others described as explicit evidence shedding light on the Taliban’s intentions.

Trump himself acknowledged that reality in extraordinary comments Friday, saying the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the Afghan government after U.S. troops withdraw.

“Countries have to take care of themselves,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “You can only hold someone’s hand for so long.” Asked if the Taliban could eventually seize power, Trump said it’s “not supposed to happen that way, but it possibly will.”

After the publication of this article, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen tweeted, “We categorically reject allegations by U.S. intel officials to NBC News that the (Taliban) has no intention of abiding by the agreement. The…implementation process is going good so far and such comments by U.S. officials cannot be justified.

It was never going to be easy to end fighting in Afghanistan.

This cartoon is from twenty years ago when the US military went in to Afghanistan.

 

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15 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th March 2020

    No surprise that the first to break their sworn commitments are US “Intelligence officials”.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th March 2020

      What about the clear statements from the Taleban
      “The Taliban, for their part, are now saying more clearly than ever that the peace deal signed Feb. 29 in Doha, Qatar, after 18 months of negotiations applies only to a truce with U.S. forces, not to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. “We signed an agreement with the Americans. But our jihad is not over,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid

      It hardly needs ‘intell’ to work that out

      Even Trump has worked it out , and likely been told by his advisors
      “Trump himself acknowledged that reality in extraordinary comments Friday, saying the Taliban could “possibly” overrun the Afghan government after U.S. troops withdraw.

      Essentially its an agreement to let the US withdraw after admitting defeat

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  8th March 2020

        The Taliban are obviously betting from the drawdown schedule already specified in the US-Taliban agreement that Trump wants to bring the troops home from Afghanistan at the earliest opportunity to claim another promise honoured to voters, knowing that he has no ideological commitment to making that contingent on the Taliban embracing democracy or human rights or women’s rights, and that he also has no sense of commitment to a corrupt & beleaguered government in Kabul supported by two previous Presidents that has absolutely no hope of ever controlling its own territory.

        He’s been remarking in recent rallies that the US shouldn’t be in the business of bringing democracy to countries that don’t want it, that the US military should only be defending the United States mainland, which, under him, they’re doing – America first!

        They no doubt expect him to do to Kabul what he did to the Kurds in Syria – tough luck, we’re gone, you’re not our problem any more!

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  8th March 2020

          In fact he threatened to bomb Turkey if they took out the Kurds and they have survived.

          He could make the same offer to Pakistan.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  8th March 2020

            Last I heard I think they survived by doing a deal with Assad. But I think that Trump’s got a view (he expresses it often enuf, including at recent rallies) that he has rebuilt the US military to being the strongest military in the world (it already was) & that he really thinks it doesn’t matter if they withdraw from any country, that they can now punish it severely from afar if necessary.

            He sees no pointing in wasting US treasure on battles they can’t win. And he now has a team of enablers including a Secretary of State who will do & say what he wants, even against other advice.

            I could be wrong, Alan, but he’s not a deep thinker – & I don’t think he sees any gain or profit from the US remaining in Afghanistan. It’s their most unpopular, unwinnable war. He may be perfectly happy to gamble getting out is better for him & the US than staying there – and that sure seems to me to be what the Taliban are thinking.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  8th March 2020

              Well, he said that he didn’t know that people could die of the flu. His grandfather did. He seems to be ill-informed about many things.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  8th March 2020

              I agree with all of that, G. As far as “deep thinker” goes it is probably worth thinking about what that means. For some, it means being able to foresee and articulate all possible options and likely outcomes. But for others it may mean the ability to act instinctively and find and take successful paths that others couldn’t or wouldn’t. I think Trump is the latter.

            • Gezza

               /  8th March 2020

              I guess it depends on what you mean by “successful” paths.

              I just feel sorry for the thousands of poor Afghani women & young men who’ve now had an education & got the only jobs going in the Afghan government, army & security forces or in service or supply roles, & tried to lift themselves & their families out of the miserable grinding illiteracy, poverty & backwardness of their villages – who really are hoping for some kind of more civilised future, but who’ll most likely all just end up abandoned to their fate, & massacred &/or terrorised into submission again by the same vicious medieval-era Taliban thugs who kept them in that state before.

              There’ll be new waves of Afghani Muslim refugees heading Westwards.

            • Gezza

               /  8th March 2020

              Two interesting opinion pieces on the deal that I read today, Alan, & a short video news item (80 attacks on the Afghan forces in the week since the deal was signed by the US & Taliban representative) on how the Taliban are presenting the deal to their followers in Afghanistan.

              https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/02/afghanistan-agreement-united-states-wants-peace-taliban-wants-emirate/

              https://www.justsecurity.org/68937/the-u-s-taliban-accord-can-the-afghan-government-rise-to-the-occasion/

              https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/afghanistan-taliban-talks-risk-unrest-continues-200307130554687.html

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  9th March 2020

              Let’s judge success a couple of years down the track. Not sure why you think Americans can make Afghanistan work if Afghanis can’t. If you live in a shithole country you can’t change then leave.

              Possibly threatening to bomb Pakistan to stop Taliban atrocities would indeed be the best thing the US could do.

            • Duker

               /  9th March 2020

              What about Trumps grand plan for the Middle east he was talking about before the election

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2020

              “Not sure why you think Americans can make Afghanistan work if Afghanis can’t.”

              I don’t, Al. I can’t think of any US military & diplomatic strategy that can turn that country into a working multi-faction, peaceful, participatory democracy. It’s too tribally & religiously primitive. Abdullah & Ghani have just announced they will each have separate swearing in ceremonies as President at the same time on the same day.

              That video clip of the local Afghani Taliban celebrating their peace deal ‘victory’ over the US is instructive. Look at those Taliban fighters. Straight out of the bloody Middle Ages. That uneducated gang of ignorant Islamist foot-soldiers is going to disarm & return to farming & goat-herding & participate in elections & / or power sharing? When they are living better off by taxing & terrorising the local populations now? Not a hope.

              I’m just expressing sadness that, far from making things better for the local population, all that American Presidents since Bush have done is raise expectations & false hopes among some of them, but ultimately made things worse for everyone.

              If I put aside my sympathies for those in that country who genuinely hoped for a safer, better future, & haven’t got one, I actually don’t think Trump’s necessarily doing the wrong thing planning to pull out of the place. It’s been a hopeless situation for the US since 2001. All other strategies to defeat the Taliban or bring them to negotiating to participate in power sharing have been dismal failures.

              But I’m also dubious that the US pulling out will actually reduce the threat of Islamic terrorism to US interests & the West in that region or in others. The Taliban has survived sanctions & been able finance itself quite well enuf from banditry, taxes & donors. It likely doesn’t care if US aid is withheld or lifted sanctions are reimposed if they just take over & eliminate all rivals.

              No simple Trump solutions look any more likely to me to improve matters for security or stability in the long term at the moment. But until it’s been tried, it probably can’t be condemned any more than other strategies have been – unless one wants to argue the US just has to continue funding & fighting an unbeatable insurgency in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.

            • Gezza

               /  9th March 2020

              PS: I forgot an obvious huge source of finance for the Taliban:

              Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium. With an estimated annual export value of $1.5-$3bn, the opium poppy is big business, supplying the overwhelming majority of illicit heroin worldwide.

              Although there is some cultivation in government regions, most of the poppy growing takes place in areas controlled by the Taliban and is believed to be an important source of income.

              The Taliban earns money from taxes imposed at several stages of the process. A 10% cultivation tax is collected from opium farmers. Taxes are also collected from the laboratories converting opium into heroin, as well as the traders who smuggle the illicit drugs. Estimates of the Taliban’s annual share of the illicit drug economy range from $100m-$400m.

              https://www.bbc.com/news/world-46554097

    • Duker

       /  8th March 2020

      Yes. a US president needs to be able to ‘wave a piece if paper’.

      Reply

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