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Taliban plan ‘military takeover’ as Plan B

16 Sep 2020 Salam Watandar

MONITORING (SW) – A member of the Taliban has told US-based CBS news the group plans a ‘military takeover’ in Afghanistan if political solution is not reached.

It said in a report that the "Intra-Afghan" talks were the direct result of an agreement reached between the insurgent group and the Trump administration in February. The Afghan government was not directly involved in those negotiations, as the Taliban had refused to negotiate with Kabul until this week.

CBS News' Sami Yousafzai spoke to a couple members of the group's political team, representing the Taliban in the Doha talks, and a former Taliban government minister.

"The current Afghan system is totally corrupt and incapable," began one of the senior members of the Taliban's negotiating team, suggesting that forming a coalition with the "sinking ship" of President Ashraf Ghani's government would "drown the Taliban as well." "Now it's the Taliban's turn," he said. "Hand over the Afghan regime to the Taliban for three to five years. The Taliban will work with the international community, especially the U.S. We will prove that as the Taliban was a hard enemy, in the future we will be a solid and trustworthy partner."

That stark starting position in talks aimed at brokering a ceasefire and, eventually, a renewed, legitimized role for the militant group in Afghan politics, may seem ominous. But defiance against a government the Taliban has dismissed as an illegitimate puppet of Washington for more than a decade isn't surprising, and it was delivered with nuanced hints at flexibility, it said.

"The international community shouldn't be nervous," the deputy leader of the Taliban's negotiating team insisted to CBS News separately. Abbas Stanikzai said that, in return for being treated as a legitimate political entity in Afghanistan, "we will be nice this time, more responsible in respect to international law."

"At the moment the U.S. and Afghan governments have no plan B," the official said. "Only the Taliban have a plan A and B. Our plan A is a peaceful political solution, and Plan B, definitely a military takeover."

If the talks do falter, the U.S. has few good options. If the Taliban leaves the negotiating table and resume its war on Afghan forces and their foreign backers, President Trump could be urged by his own military commanders to halt, or even reverse his ongoing drawdown of American forces in the country, the report noted.

Meanwhile, Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, has rejected such remarks by the Taliban. He dubbed it as “utterly sad and disappointing” comment for the people of Afghanistan and the international community who were looking for a peaceful resolution to the conflict and an end to Taliban’s violence. “Taliban’s consistent rhetoric of a military takeover is illusion and against the spirit of the current peace process,” he said.

ENDS

Original Link: https://swn.af/english/Article.aspx?a=57413

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