On Monday, US Army General Commander General John Nicholson said the US was ready for direct negotiations with the Taliban to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan, a major change in US policy in the central Asian country.
“Our Secretary of State said that we, the United States, are ready to talk to the Taliban and discuss the role of international forces,” said Nicholson, who heads the NATO-led support mission.
“We hope they realize this and that this will help advance the peace process,” he added.
The United States has long insisted that the Afghan government participate in peace negotiations; however, the Taliban said it is the only one involved in Afghanistan that will deal with the US.
The Taliban came to power after the US backed jihadist forces to topple a progressive socialist government that was aligned with the Soviet Union. Under the socialist government, women did not have to wear hijabs, had access to education and many other progressive policies. However, to avert another Soviet-aligned government, the US backed jihadist forces, as it does today in Syria, which eventually culminated with the Taliban coming to power.
Under Taliban control, women were forced to wear burqas and a puritanical interpretation of Islam was enforced upon the country.
The US invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in response to the Al-Qaeda claimed attacks on the famous New York World Trade Center twin towers. The Taliban were charged with turning the country into an Al-Qaeda hideout and it was believed the terrorist groups leader Osama bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan.
However, despite the Taliban being removed from power, the US military with all its sophistication were unable to defeat the group who now control large swathes of the country. All experts believe that the Taliban will recapture the country as soon as the US military are to leave.
What appears to be happening is that the US needs a more cost effective way to manage Afghanistan and its internal politics, while remaining some kind of bulwark to Iran’s east and also to maintain control of the heroin trade.