The UK’s Daily Telegraph published an article with a curious title yesterday, “Taliban talks with the US in deadlock.” This piqued our interest; had there been any progress between the Taliban and the United States? Upon further reading, it appears the headline was at best, misleading, and at worst, manipulative with a heaping side of anti-Americanism.
“Talks between America and the Taliban are deadlocked and risk losing momentum,” the article began. Losing momentum? Well, that can’t be good. The article continued that the militants are “continuing to demand an immediate US troop withdrawal and refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government.” In just the first sentence it is clear that the Taliban is making demands, NOT at all engaging in “talks” as the title suggests.
“Early optimism that talks in Doha could pave the way for a peace negotiation to end decades of bloodshed has run into a wall of Taliban intransigence, Afghan and Western officials told the Daily Telegraph.” The question is, where did these signs of “optimism” ever come from? According to the article, “The Taliban meanwhile accuse the US of deliberately trying to split the movement during negotiation.” The chief US negotiator will meet with insurgent envoys for the SEVENTH round of talks this month. It sounds quite convenient for the Taliban that things are hitting a wall after so much time and effort towards “peace.”
The article reported “the sixth and most recent round of talks in early May made virtually no progress according to sources briefed on the discussions. Without movement soon the most promising political chance yet to end the Taliban’s insurgency will lose impetus, diplomats fear.” SO, who has to give in for this “promising political chance” to occur? One Western official familiar with the talks said:
“There’s been a desperate attempt to make the sixth round seem like there was some kind of progress, but there wasn’t.” Let me get this straight. If the sixth and last round of talks made ZERO progress, what positive thing has all of a sudden hit a wall? To refer back to the beginning of the article, what is at risk of “losing momentum?”
Where does the Taliban stand on all this while the Western world softballs meaningless rhetoric back and forth? They seem to be quite clear and unwavering: “No one should expect us to pour cold water on the heated battlefronts of Jihad or forget our forty-year sacrifices before reaching our objectives,” said the movement’s leader, Haibatullah Akhundzada. Perhaps a more appropriate title would have been “Taliban STILL refusing to talk with the US.”