The Taliban announced on Monday night that the group is ready for talks with the United States and called on US officials “to talk directly to the Political Office of Islamic Emirate (in Qatar) regarding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary.”
Referring to the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Alice Wells’ recent statement that the US has kept the doors of dialogue open for the Taliban, the group said “it would help in finding a solution if America accepts the legitimate demands of the Afghan people and forward its own concerns and requests for discussion to the Islamic Emirate through a peaceful channel.”
The Taliban also said in the statement that the group made it clear to the US in its recent letter that “war is not our choice, rather it has been imposed upon us. For ending the occupation, we want a peaceful resolution to the Afghan issue.”
The statement noted that “it must now be established by America and her allies that the Afghan issue cannot be solved militarily.
“America must henceforth focus on a peaceful strategy for Afghanistan instead of war. Military strategies which have repeatedly been tested in Afghanistan over the past seventeen years will only intensify and prolong the war. And this is not in the interest of anyone.”
The statement comes days after Kabul started discussions with the Qatar government to close the Taliban’s office in Doha as it has had “no positive consequence in terms of facilitating the peace talks with the group in Afghanistan”, a senior Afghan government official said.
There is no need to keep the office open, said Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the National Security Advisor to President Ashraf Ghani, last week.
He made the remarks in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, a daily newspaper in the Middle East.
"The (Taliban’s) Qatar office had no benefit for us even after seven years. We are discussing with Qatar government that this office had no positive result in the peace process and it is better to close it,” Atmar said in the interview.
“The aim behind opening of this office was to start official peace negotiations with the Taliban from the address, but so far no official negotiation from the office has been started with government. Even a single step has not been taken forward in the peace process through this office,” said Qadir Shah, a spokesman for Atmar’s office last week.
Mohammad Akram Khpalwak, an advisor to the president and head secretary of High Peace Council last week said in Kabul at a National Consultative Peace Conference with tribal and Jihadi elders and provincial council representatives, that the Taliban should approach Afghans to end the war instead of sending letters to the United States.
“The Taliban should have approached Afghans to end current violence in Afghanistan instead of sending letters to the US,” said Khpalwak.
Earlier this month the Taliban called on the American people to put pressure on US President Donald Trump to change his war policy in Afghanistan and pursue peace.
The letter, which was addressed to “the American people”, stated that the US invaded Afghanistan for three goals: “Establishing security by eliminating the so-called terrorists inside Afghanistan, restoring law and order by establishing a legal government and eradicating narcotics”.
The letter also stated that the US and its allies have failed to achieve these goals.
The letter mentioned that the continuance of war and remaining of US forces in Afghanistan was not in favor of anyone and that this “threatens the stability of the world”.
“Your president and his military and political officials following his war policies still speak the language of war in Afghanistan,” the letter read.
The Taliban asked the American people that if they want peaceful dialogue with Afghans specifically and with the world generally, then they need to make their president (Donald Trump) and the “war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan”.