World View: Taliban Prepare for Return of 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan'

This morning's key headlines from

  • U.S. announces direct talks with Afghan Taliban to end war
  • Taliban prepares for return of 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan'
  • U.S. dropped some pre-conditions for talks with Taliban
  • Afghan insurgents kill U.S. soldiers at Bagram base

U.S. announces direct talks with Afghan Taliban to end war

Taliban press conference in Doha on Tuesday (Reuters)
Taliban press conference in Doha on Tuesday (Reuters)

The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. representatives will open direct talks with Taliban representatives within the next few days, aimed at finding a political solution to the Afghan war. At the same time, Taliban representatives opened up a Taliban office in Doha, Qatar, where the talks with the U.S. will take place. According to a U.S. official:

"I think the US will have its first formal meeting with the Taliban, and the first meeting with the Taliban for several years, in a couple of days in Doha.

I would expect that to be followed up within days by a meeting between the Taliban and the High Peace Council, which is the structure that President [Hamid] Karzai has set up for talks of this nature. ...

We'll tell them what we want to talk about and they'll tell us what they want to talk about and we'll both adjourn and consult on next steps, and then have another meeting in a week or two later."

U.S. officials said that this is "an important first step," with no guarantee of success. As everyone knows, the U.S. is committed to withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan in 2014. VOA and AFP

Taliban prepares for return of 'Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan'

As U.S. officials were announcing the start of talks with the Taliban, the Taliban themselves were giving a press conference in Doha, Qatar, at the "Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan." This was the name of the country Afghanistan when the Taliban ruled it, prior to September 11, 2001. According to the Taliban announcement:

"It is well known to all that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has been waging jihad and striving to put an end to the occupation and form an independent Islamic system. To reach this goal, it has utilized every lawful means.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan simultaneously follows both military and political options and aims which are limited to Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate neither wants to pose harms to other countries from its soil nor will allow anyone to pose a threat to the security of countries from the soil of Afghanistan.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants good relations with all countries of the world, including the neighboring countries on the basis of mutual respect and, while desiring security at the country level, the Islamic Emirate wants security and justice at the world level.

Of course, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan considers its religious and national duty to gain independence from the occupation and, for that purpose, has utilized every legitimate way and will utilize it in future too."

The Taliban said that there were five main reasons why they deemed necessary to open an office in Qatar:

  • First: To reach understanding and initiate talks with countries of the world for the purpose of improving relations with them.
  • Second: To support a political and peaceful solution which includes end of occupation of Afghanistan and establishment of an independent Islamic system and true security, which the nation wants and aspires.
  • Third: To hold meetings with Afghans as time may demand.
  • Fourth: To initiate contact with the United Nations, as well as with international, regional and non-governmental organizations.
  • Fifth: To put political statements at the disposal of media regarding current political developments.
Gulf Times (Doha)

U.S. dropped some pre-conditions for talks with Taliban

As the 2014 withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan approaches, the U.S. has been forced to drop some previously announced pre-conditions for peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.

The Taliban made the following commitments:

  • They would "support" an Afghan peace process.
  • They would oppose the use of Afghan soil to threaten other countries.
The last is an allusion to Osama bin Laden's use of Afghan soil to launch the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. However, recent attempted attacks on Europe and America have been launched from AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) in northern Africa and AQAP (Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula) in Yemen.

The U.S. has dropped some other pre-conditions for talks:

  • The Taliban will not forego suicide further suicide attacks or other violence in Afghanistan, as it's pursuing the political process.
  • The Taliban will not sever links with al-Qaeda.
  • The Taliban will not accept Afghanistan's constitution and, in particular, will not agree to protections for women and minorities.
The Taliban are expected to demand that all foreign troops be pulled out of Afghanistan in 2014, and that the U.S. not be permitted to leave behind a small force. Dawn (Pakistan)

Afghan insurgents kill U.S. soldiers at Bagram base

Several hours after the Taliban were announcing peace talks with the United States, insurgents killed four U.S. soldiers in an attack on Bagram Air Force Base near Kabul in Afghanistan. BBC

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