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The Taliban Smell Blood
Afghan security forces gather at the site of a powerful truck bomb attack (claimed by the Taliban) a day after it detonated near a foreign compound in Kabul on January 15, 2019. (WAKIL KOHSAR/AGetty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Taliban Smell Blood

Husain Haqqani

Even when the Taliban talk peace, they make war. Discussions in Doha, Qatar, have not stopped their attacks in Afghanistan. One killed a U.S. serviceman Saturday. A July 7 car bomb killed at least 14 people and wounded more than 180, including scores of children. This talk-and-shoot approach reflects the Taliban’s belief that the talks concern only the orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. That won’t do. The U.S. should now suspend talks with the Taliban to drive home the point that peace, not simply withdrawal, is America’s goal.

The two sides seem to have been working at cross-purposes since the negotiations began last October. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy for Afghan reconciliation, described the goal of his first meeting with Taliban representatives as exploring the prospect of “a peaceful Afghanistan where all Afghans see themselves included.” The Taliban insisted in their statement that the talks were about “the end of occupation and a peaceful resolution for the Afghan issue.”

After eight rounds of direct talks, and several side meetings aimed at facilitating dialogue among Afghan political factions, the Taliban’s stance on the scope of discussions remains the same.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here

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