The Taliban on Wednesday penned an open letter urging United States to reconsider its efforts in the war-trodden region of Afghanistan.
In a letter addressed to the “American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace loving Congressmen,” the Taliban said it wanted to end the 17-year conflict through peace talks with President Donald Trump. The letter also warned that the pacifist tack shouldn’t be perceived as a sign of weakness and its fight against the U.S. troops in Afghanistan will persist until they leave the premises.
Former President George W. Bush deployed troops in Afghanistan in 2001 and last year, Trump redoubled his efforts to attack the region when U.S. unleashed the Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) against an ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province, along the border with Pakistan.
The strikes ordered by the president pushed the Taliban back from several district centers and two provincial capitals, Reuters reported.
The letter said, “Despite continuing this bloody war for seventeen years and accepting huge casualties and financial losses, your current president Donald Trump — to continue the illegal 17-year-old war in Afghanistan — acknowledged increased insecurity and emergence of multiple groups instead of the single unified Islamic Emirate (Taliban).”
The militant group said the war has borne tremendous casualties on both sides and killed thousands of innocents including 3,546 American and foreign soldiers. The letter urged the U.S. government to end the war with peace talks and engage with Afghans directly rather than “corrupt politicians.”
They implored the president to not repeat the mistakes of his predecessor and resort to negotiations instead of imposing war on the country.
“It seems to be a historical mistake on the part of the previous administrations to have dispatched American youth for the slaughter of Afghans. However, as a responsible American president, you need to study the mistakes of your predecessors and prevent death and injury to American forces in Afghanistan,” it said.
The letter accused the politicians in Afghanistan of protracting the war for personal gain.
“A number of warmongering congressmen and generals in Afghanistan are pressing you to protract the war in Afghanistan because they seek to preserve their military privileges, but instead you must act responsibly as the fate of many Americans and Afghans alike is tied to this issue,” the letter stated.
The Taliban militants who control large parts of the countryside responded to the threat posed by the U.S. military forces by attacking Kabul in the past few weeks and killing over 150 people.
In the statement issued Wednesday, the insurgent group did not mention the attack on a Kabul hotel which killed more than 30 people in January or the attack on the streets of the Kabul later that week that claimed the lives of more than 100 people. However in a separate declaration last month, it claimed responsibility for both the attacks.
A report published by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) said a total of 10,453 civilian casualties — 3,438 people killed and 7,015 injured — were documented in the year 2017.
“The chilling statistics in this report provide credible data about the war’s impact, but the figures alone cannot capture the appalling human suffering inflicted on ordinary people, especially women and children,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.
Trump is yet to unveil a strategy for Afghanistan but U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Monday said they were very close to reveling one, reports said.
However, Taliban said privatizing the war would be a grave mistake after reports surfaced that a private firm named Black Water offered its services to replace the U.S. troops with 5,500 private contractors who would train the Afghan soldiers to join them in the fight against Taliban.
Referring to the report, the Taliban warned North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and U.S. military that they will never be able to win the war with “mercenaries, notorious contractor firms, and immoral stooges.”
A spokesman for Afghanistan’s NATO-led military mission, Captain Tom Gresback said the recent attack perpetrated by Taliban in Kabul demonstrate they are not ready to venture into a peaceful tack, Reuters reported.
“The letter alone doesn’t show willingness to engage in peace talks. Recent attacks speak louder than these words. These shameful attacks illustrate the Taliban’s barbarism and only harden our resolve to support our Afghan partners,” he said.
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