Afghan NSA: Taliban will have no reason to continue with violence anymore

New Delhi:  The “big picture” arising out of the decision by US President Joe Biden to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan is that the Taliban will have no reason to continue with violence anymore, Afghan NSA Hamdullah Mohib said on Friday.

In an interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue, Mohib also said that a team will be formed in the next few days that would work with the US and NATO forces on the “transition plan” and that the “devil will be in the details” for future cooperation with them.

The Afghan National Security Adviser (NSA) said he spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval this morning and apprised him about the evolving situation in Afghanistan following the decision by the US.

In a significant announcement, President Biden on Wednesday said American troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11 that would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the US in 2001.

The US has lost more than 2,000 personnel since 2001 in the war that was triggered by the terror attacks carried out by the al-Qaeda.

“The big picture point about the US withdrawal of troops is that the Taliban will have no reason to continue violence in Afghanistan anymore. The reasons why they continued violence are totally out of the picture now,” Mohib said.

“I think it is time for them (Taliban) to make real peace with the Afghan government and become part of the mainstream political society,” said the Afghan NSA, adding that the US decision provided Afghanistan an opportunity to “move forward”.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif were the other participants at the virtual conference.

Mohib said the withdrawal of US forces will be a great opportunity for Afghanistan to take full control of the security situation in the country.

“Afghanistan does not need US combat troops on the ground, what we need is support to the Afghan security forces, and we have been assured that it will continue,” he said.

The Afghan NSA said the Taliban was losing on every front and it will be another miscalculation on its part if it does not take this “opportunity” (withdrawal of US forces) that is presented to them now.

In a reference to foreign terrorists operating in Afghanistan, Mohib suggested that there was a need to make them leave the country for its peace and stability.

“It is not only withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan; it is also about withdrawal of foreign fighters from Afghanistan which the Taliban are working closely with and who are involved in disruptive activities in our country. That will remain a threat to the country and the region,” he said.

Mohib said Afghanistan is in an “unchartered territory” as there were lot of uncertainties hovering over it.

“The devil will be in details of what we negotiate with the US and the NATO as we facilitate a transition,” he said.

“This will be a time when we will work closely with our regional partners to ensure that the transition happens smoothly and we are able to work for a peaceful Afghanistan where rights of all are protected while maintaining our sovereignty and unity,” he said.

Mohib said President Ashraf Ghani would be the best person to lead the transition.

In his remarks, Zarif said the announcement and commitment of the US to finally withdraw from Afghanistan in a responsible way is a positive move and it has to be taken in the light of the realities of the region that presence of foreign forces has never contributed to its peace and stability.

“Taliban should start negotiating now with the government of Afghanistan, people of Afghanistan and various other groups in the country. There should be a broad-based conversation right now,” he said.

Zarif said waiting for an eventuality to result in a vacuum and the Taliban wanting to fill that vacuum will be disaster.

“That will be recipe for a new war in Afghanistan and we in the region cannot tolerate it,” he said.

Zarif said the Taliban has to change based on democratic ways and if it wants to go back to their ideology of the 1990s, it will be impossible as there is a new and different Afghanistan today.

The Iranian foreign minister said it was important for all Afghans to agree on what they want and then work on the details on how to achieve it.

Referring to Taliban’s vision of an Islamic emirate in Afghanistan, Zarif said that it would be an existential threat to Pakistan and a national security threat to Iran and India.

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