'As the US and Taliban close in on a peace deal, confusion about the nature of the militant group’s relationship with the Afghan government lingers. While unnamed Taliban commanders have claimed the struggle against Kabul will continue, leading US diplomats insist that peace underlies their budding agreement.
Nine rounds of negotiations in Doha, Qatar, are close to yielding a peace agreement between US forces and the Taliban, a Sunni Islamist militant group that became Washington’s primary adversary after being thrown out of power by the US invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001. While US diplomats have insisted that their agreement with the Taliban includes a pledge to seek peaceful resolution with the Washington-allied government in Kabul, two unnamed Taliban leaders told Reuters for a Monday story that their struggle with the Afghan government would not end when the US exits the country.
“We will continue our fight against the Afghan government and seize power by force,” a commander in the militant group told Reuters. “The Americans will not come to the assistance of the Afghan government and its forces in their fight against us.”
A second Taliban commander also noted the coming peace deal with Washington, expected to be signed this week, would see the end of US support for Kabul.
Negotiations between the US and the Taliban began late last year and have conspicuously excluded Kabul representatives, since the Taliban regards the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as an illegitimate puppet government of Washington. The US seeks an exit from the Afghan war, which will enter its 19th year this coming October. The US invaded and overthrew the Taliban as retribution for the group having provided shelter for terrorist group al-Qaeda, permitting them to train and organize for a wave of terrorist attacks against US installations around the world, culminating in the September 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Fighting has continued unabated since the talks began, however - and it’s been a deadly year. A bomb in a Kabul wedding hall earlier this month killed 63 partygoers and injured 183 - an attack claimed by Daesh, which has expanded its network in the Central Asian country in recent months.
A report published last month by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan found the US was responsible for more civilian deaths in the country than the Taliban. At least 3,812 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of 2019, which 52% of those deaths firmly attributable to the US and its allies, according to the report.'
Read more: ‘We Will Continue Our Fight’: Taliban Commander Vows No Peace With Kabul Despite US Deal
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