The Taliban is committed to ‘peace’ in Afghanistan and want foreign forces out. During a meeting yesterday in Russia, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the political deputy of the Taliban, denounced the foreign presence in the country as a major obstacle to Afghan peace.
US defence officials in December 2018 had confirmed that the Trump administration was considering the withdrawal of as many as 7,000 of the approximately 14,000 US forces deployed in Afghanistan. The Taliban insists that foreign forces must leave Afghanistan ‘before it can agree to peace’.
Baradar said the obstacle is the occupation of Afghanistan. He said the Islamic Emirate (Taliban) is truly committed to peace but the first step is to remove obstacles. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also urged the foreign forces to leave Afghanistan. Lavrov said Russia is ready to offer more help to Afghanistan to fight terrorist groups led by Islamic State and drug trafficking networks.
This was the second such meeting between the Taliban and Afghan officials in Russia. However, the recent Doha meeting between the US and Taliban ended with no tangible progress. For the US, priority was securing a commitment from the Taliban that it would never again allow a terrorist group to use Afghanistan as a staging ground to attack the US or its allies.
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“This conflict in Afghanistan has no military solution and the the only way to settle this issue is to rely on diplomacy and politics,” said the Russian Foreign Minister. “We believe all foreign military forces should be withdrawn from the country and the society of Afghanistan should unite in finding a solution.” Lavrov said Afghanistan should stay united for the sake of all the ethnic groups to live peacefully together.