Continued fighting in Afghanistan ‘dead end’: Wilson

KABUL (Tolo News): The US chargé d’affaires in Kabul, Ross Wilson, in an interview with TOLOnews said that the US had reached the conclusion years ago that the war in Afghanistan was a “dead end,” and that a political solution is the best way to address the conflict.

Referring to the rumors about a possible civil war in Afghanistan, Wilson said that it would not be in the interest of “any party.” “Well, it is clear to me that civil war is not in the interest of any party, it is not in the interest of the Afghans, it is not in the interest of the Taliban, it’s even less in the interests of Afghanistan’s neighbors,” said Wilson.

“We came to the conclusion a number of years ago that just continued fighting was a dead end—we weren’t ultimately going to be victorious and eliminate forever and for all time the problems of Afghanistan or the problem of the Taliban,” he said. “A political solution was the right way to try to proceed,” said Wilson.

He said that both the Afghans and the international community have similar concerns about the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. Under the US-Taliban peace agreement signed on February 2020, all US forces stationed in Afghanistan must leave the country by May 1, but US President Joe Biden said it will be hard to meet the May 1 deadline for getting troops out of Afghanistan for “tactical reasons,” and he has announced that the US pullout will be completed by September 11.

The Taliban warned that delay in American forces’ presence in the country will be seen as a violation of the Doha agreement and that all future responsibility for the continuation of violence will be on those who violate the deal. Meanwhile, there are reports that the Taliban are consulting about on how to return to the peace negotiation talks and about their participation about the upcoming UN-led conference on Afghanistan in Turkey in the next few weeks.

“Secretary Blinken, President Biden have been absolutely clear with President Ghani, with other Afghan security leaders that we intend to continue to provide security, economic and other assistance to this country and to its people,” he said. Ross Wilson said that the US will continue to monitor the activities of insurgent groups in Afghanistan after the drawdown.

“We will continue to closely monitor and to follow and be prepared to respond to terrorism concerns here and anywhere else in the world,” said Ross Wilson. Earlier this month, Long War Journal reported Al Qaeda and its regional affiliate, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, continue to operate across Afghanistan despite repeated Taliban claims by the Taliban that the group is no longer present in the country.

Based on the report, al Qaeda and other groups associated with it have been involved in perpetrating dozens of attacks across Afghanistan following the US-Taliban peace agreement last February. The UN sanctions committee has previously estimated the number of al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan 400 to 600. Taliban has denied these reports saying that the group has no ties with al Qaeda.