U.S. Acting Secretary of State John Sullivan this week urged the Taliban to “turn their bullets and bombs into ballots” and “run for office” in response to the terrorist group’s announcement of its spring offensive, which the narco-jihadists say will focus on “crushing, killing and capturing American invaders.”
A day after the Taliban issued a statement Tuesday announcing its spring offensive, dubbed “Al Khandaq Jihadi operations” after a battle fought by the Prophet Muhammad, Sullivan noted in a press release of his own:
We have seen the Taliban’s announcement of their spring offensive. The announcement affirms the Taliban’s responsibility for the insecurity that destroys the lives of thousands of Afghans each year.
As [Afghan] President [Ashraf] Ghani recently said, the Taliban should turn their bullets and bombs into ballots. They should run for office. They should vote. We encourage Taliban leaders to return to Afghanistan from their foreign safe havens and work constructively for Afghanistan’s future. More violence will not bring peace and security to Afghanistan.
In February, President Ghani extended an olive branch to the Taliban, offering a ceasefire and recognition as a legitimate political group.
The United States has come out in support of the peace offering with U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the top commander of American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, describing the proposal on Monday as the “best opportunity to end” the nearly 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.
However, the Taliban has rejected the offer, declaring in its spring offensive announcement on Tuesday that they will be “mainly focusing on crushing, killing and capturing American invaders and their supporters,” adding:
The continuation of the legitimate Jihadi resistance against the foreign invaders and their internal and external supporters is deemed as a legal, moral and security obligation by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [Taliban] as a defending force of the pious values of our sacred religion of Islam and the territorial integrity of our homeland.
The United States has spent nearly a trillion dollars on the war in Afghanistan and lost 2,263 American service members, primarily at the hands of the Taliban. Terrorists have also maimed another 20,318 U.S. troops since the conflict began in October 2001.
Bill Roggio, an Afghanistan war expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think-tank and editor of the Long War Journal, blasted the U.S. State Department for backing Ghani’s peace offer.
He wrote on Thursday;
State’s repetitive call for the Taliban to make peace demonstrates an unthinkable fundamental misunderstanding of the Taliban and its goals some 16 years after the US first entered Afghanistan.
The Taliban has no intention of joining a political process and as it has stated numerous times, its goals are the expulsion of US and foreign forces, the overthrow of the Afghan government, the re-establishment of the of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the name of the Taliban’s government) and the imposition of its harsh brand of Sharia, or Islamic law.
Taliban terrorists have long insisted on a complete withdrawal of international forces as a precondition for peace talks, a position that the United States continues to reject.