August 4, 2011
Statements from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement have begun taking on a more diplomatic tone as the movement grows ever more confident of an eventual victory over foreign forces that are beginning to question the value of extending their deployments. A July 28 statement entitled “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan: Rethinking Afghanistan” took the opportunity to jab at American fiscal sensitivities by reminding the United States that the cost of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had precipitated a “head-long descent into financial meltdown” (alemarah.net, July 28).
America’s reputation as a world leader in human rights has similarly suffered through the “gross human rights violations by American interrogators in the Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and Bagram jails,” as well as drone attacks and night raids “in which thousands of innocent men and women have lost their lives.”
Despite the great financial cost and the blows to America’s international reputation, the Taliban insists the American intervention in Afghanistan has succeeded only in destabilizing the region and imposing a corrupt government of former warlords who ship foreign aid funds through Kabul airport to “clandestine bank accounts.”
To bring an end to the conflict (and to further the unspoken aim of legitimizing the Afghan Taliban and the Islamic Emirate), the Taliban statement suggests the following:
- The war in Afghanistan must be separated from the “war on terrorism,” with the Afghan mujahideen no longer being referred to as “terrorists.”
- Afghans must be given their independence according to the UN Charter.
- Based on its performance over the last decade, the Islamic Emirate should recognized as a political and military power.
- Afghans should be given the right of self-determination to form an Islamic government.
- U.S. and other foreign troops should coordinate a “face-saving” withdrawal with Taliban forces.
- Afghanistan’s neighbors must build “an environment of cooperation and trust” with the Islamic Emirate.
In return for these steps, the Islamic Emirate pledges “as a proven military and political force” to commit to the stability of the region following the withdrawal of foreign forces.
This article was originally published in the August 4, 2011 issue of the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor