The Taliban appear to have rejected the bold proposal by President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan to invite them for direct peace talks with the government. In an unsigned commentary published last week on their official website, the Taliban said, “The permission of peace and war are with the Americans ….” and claimed that their policy of wanting to “talk to American invaders about peace and stability rather than talking to their slave regime is now widely accepted by the independent Western analysts and other intellectuals.”
Instead of dealing with the Kabul government, the Taliban want to talk to the United States, which they see as the decisive actor on the battlefield.… Seguir leyendo »
Over one week, as many as 130 people, the overwhelming majority civilians, were killed in twin attacks claimed by the Taliban in Kabul. On 20 January, five Taliban suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel, killing at least 22 people, mostly foreigners, after breaching the security of the heavily guarded building. Almost half the dead were employees of Afghan airline carrier, Kam Air. Families and friends of civilians trapped in the fourteen-hour siege spent the night in the sub-zero temperature outside the hotel waiting for news of their loved ones.
A week later the Taliban launched a deadlier attack, killing over 100 people, again mostly civilians.… Seguir leyendo »
On 21 November, the U.S. military began major airstrikes against what it described as Taliban drug labs in the north of Helmand province of Afghanistan. Yet a coercive counter-narcotics campaign will solve neither the country’s poppy boom nor the Taliban’s profiting from it, which has long depended to an extraordinary extent on very local dynamics.
It is no secret that the Taliban bankrolls its operations in part by drug money, with estimates of its annual share of the multi-billion-dollar illicit drug economy ranging from tens to a few hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars. The staggering 87 per cent increase in Afghanistan’s opium production in 2017, as reported by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) this month, also means more profits for the Taliban.… Seguir leyendo »
For the last month, American and Afghan forces have been engaged in a new offensive against an Islamic State offshoot based in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. The Trump administration dropped what it boasted was the biggest non-nuclear bomb on the group’s hide-outs on April 13; a militant leader and two American soldiers have been killed in the operations. An American military spokesman claimed there was a “very good chance” that the group would be eradicated in Afghanistan in 2017.
But the United States obsession with the Islamic State in Khorasan — a minor group in Afghanistan — distracts attention from a more urgent task: negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, which controls close to half of Afghanistan.… Seguir leyendo »