Afghan First Vice President Says Negotiating With Taliban Still “Side By Side With Al Qaeda” Was Wrong

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Kabul – Taliban fighters reportedly captured another northern district Afghanistan Wednesday. The siege was part of a larger offensive against Afghan security forces across the country, as American troops withdraw.

The nation’s second-highest political leader told CBS News’s Charlie D’Agata that some fundamental mistakes were behind the US decision to withdraw its forces from the country after 20 years of war.

The huge surge in violence across the country is proof that Taliban militants were never going to truly honor assurances given to the United States to curb their attacks.

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Afghan First Vice President Amrullah Saleh

CBS


First Vice President Amrullah Saleh thinks this has always been obvious.

“The Taliban are terrorists. Simple,” he told CBS News.

He said he did not trust the insurgents at all and believed it was a mistake for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban in the first place.

President Joe Biden’s rationale for moving forward with the withdrawal initiated by his predecessor was, in part, that the United States and its partners had “degraded the terrorist threat of Al Qaeda” in Afghanistan.

But Saleh said that was also a mistaken thought.

“The idea of ​​coming to Afghanistan was to teach the terrorists and their allies a lesson: don’t do it again. Did we teach them this lesson? No, ”he said.

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Taliban activists march on a road in the Afghan province of Laghman in April 2021.

CBS


Afghan forces have killed or captured dozens of Al Qaeda fighters in the past few days alone, the vice president said.

“If we say that the Taliban has separated, has decoupled itself from terrorism, it is absolutely baseless,” he told D’Agata. “The Taliban are working side by side with Al Qaeda today.”

Saleh survived several assassination attempts, including one in which a suicide bomber and gunmen killed 20 people in an attack on his office. Last fall he was injured in a roadside bombing in Kabul that killed 10 people. Her young son was in the car, but he also escaped unharmed.


Afghan women fear the departure of the US military

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With the withdrawal of US forces and their NATO allies, Saleh knows that Afghanistan faces a few dangerous months and that if there is any hope for peace, the Taliban must stop waging war.

“The Taliban cannot overpower Afghanistan with the barrel of a gun,” he told CBS News. “They can kill people. They kill people every day. But if they wait for a moment of surrender from the Afghan people, it will not come.”

The vice president said he was grateful to America for the lives lost in his country and the large amount of money spent, but said Afghanistan needed the United States “to stay engaged. diplomatically, economically and strategically “.



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