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Deputy Leader Of The Taliban Says He Is Committed To Peace

Sirajuddin Haqqani, New York Times: What We, the Taliban, Want

I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop, the deputy leader of the Taliban writes.

When our representatives started negotiating with the United States in 2018, our confidence that the talks would yield results was close to zero. We did not trust American intentions after 18 years of war and several previous attempts at negotiation that had proved futile.

Nevertheless, we decided to try once more. The long war has exacted a terrible cost from everyone. We thought it unwise to dismiss any potential opportunity for peace no matter how meager the prospects of its success. For more than four decades, precious Afghan lives have been lost every day. Everyone has lost somebody they loved. Everyone is tired of war. I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop.

We did not choose our war with the foreign coalition led by the United States. We were forced to defend ourselves. The withdrawal of foreign forces has been our first and foremost demand. That we today stand at the threshold of a peace agreement with the United States is no small milestone.

Our negotiation team, led by my colleagues Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, has worked tirelessly for the past 18 months with the American negotiators to make an agreement possible. We stuck with the talks despite recurring disquiet and upset within our ranks over the intensified bombing campaign against our villages by the United States and the flip-flopping and ever-moving goal posts of the American side.

Even when President Trump called off the talks, we kept the door to peace open because we Afghans suffer the most from the continuation of the war. No peace agreement, following on the heels of such intensive talks, comes without mutual compromises. That we stuck with such turbulent talks with the enemy we have fought bitterly for two decades, even as death rained from the sky, testifies to our commitment to ending the hostilities and bringing peace to our country.

We are aware of the concerns and questions in and outside Afghanistan about the kind of government we would have after the foreign troops withdraw. My response to such concerns is that it will depend on a consensus among Afghans. We should not let our worries get in the way of a process of genuine discussion and deliberation free for the first time from foreign domination and interference.

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WNU Editor: Mr. Haqqani is the deputy leader of the Taliban. It is his actions that count, not his words.

More News On Deputy Leader Of The Taliban's New York Times Post

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In NYT Op-Ed, Taliban’s deputy leader — wanted by the FBI — pushes for complete US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan -- Marine Times
'Historic' U.S.-Taliban pact to be signed soon, says Taliban leader -- Reuters

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