Khalilzad: Taliban Repeating Mistakes of Communist Factions

Former US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has said that some of the Taliban are repeating mistakes of the last 40 years. He referred to power monopolization by Communist party factions after 1978 as an example, adding that it led to a civil war.

“In 1978, the Communist party factions took power and then they moved against everyone else and that led to civil war,” he said in an exclusive interview with the TRT World news channel. “Now you have a government, a Taliban government without a mandate that is broader.”

The former US special envoy noted that the Taliban need to reach an agreement broadly on a “whatever” formula with other Afghans. “They need to start a consultative process and agree on a formula. The policies have to respect the views of a broader society.”

Pointing to the Taliban ban on girls’ education above the 6th grade, he implied that the Taliban themselves are divided on this policy. “One Talib told the Washington Post that 90 percent of the Taliban are opposed to the policy of not allowing girls to go to high school,” he said.

Regarding “rumors” that the Taliban will go further and prevent girls from going to universities, he warned that it will be devastating and lead to a “very strong reaction” by the international community.

According to Khalilzad, the Doha agreement provides the “best framework” for the Taliban and opposition groups to work towards the creation of a broadly supported government.

He signed the Doha peace deal on February 29, 2020, after nearly two years of negotiations with the Taliban delegation.

In addition to the withdrawal of the US-led NATO forces and counterterrorism, the two sides had agreed to form a new Afghan government as determined by “intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiations.”

“They need to start a process of conversing with each other and agreeing to a process for a government that has a broad mandate from the people,” Khalilzad reiterated in his interview with the TRT World.

When asked about the Taliban’s incentives now do so, Khalilzad warned that if they don’t, Afghans will eventually oppose them, leave the country, and more violence will even lead to an actual conflict. “History of Afghanistan is actually something that the Taliban should really study and learn from.”

Moreover, Khalilzad said that it is “unlikely” for Afghanistan to become a priority for the US policies as it became after 9/11 and when the US forces had a presence in the country.