Scott Miller
General Austin Scott Miller was the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan from 2018 to 2021. Photo: Jeff Harris/Defense Department.

“We are tired of killing you”, US general told the Taliban during talks

“We, the Americans, are tired of killing you. It is enough, and we no longer want to be engaged in this endless war,” Akmal Dawi quoted Austin Scott Miller, then the commander of US forces in Afghanistan, as saying to Taliban negotiators in Doha.

Akmal Dawn was the interpreter during the talks in Doha, which resulted in the Doha Deal, brining an end to the US and NATO allies’ 20 year military engagement in Afghanistan and paving the way for the Taliban to regain power.

The Taliban, Dawi said, retorted that “Well, if we don’t reach a peace [deal] then we will fight for another 20 years.”

This comes as the Taliban celebrated the 3rd anniversary of US-Taliban peace deal in Kabul on Wednesday with the group’s deputy prime minister, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, criticizing the US of not allowing the world to engage with the group’s government.

Akram Dawn further revealed that the two sides often got emotional during the talks and exchanged strong words. Qatar, he said, had chosen the “coldest” room in the hotel for the talks to keep the negotiating teams cool.

Dawi says US negotiators were divided across civilian and military lines in peace talks with the Taliban

Dawi, who is also a journalist, said that the Taliban negotiators came to the meetings more prepared and well thought out than the US team, which he said had divided political/diplomatic and military objectives. The military side was stressing a conditional withdrawal, while the diplomats, headed by Zalmay Khalilzad, followed instructions from the White House.

The US negotiating team, Dawi said, was being constantly undermined and contradicted by Washington. When the US side was trying to convince the Taliban that troops withdrawal would need 2 years to be completed, Trump tweeted he wanted to pull out in one month. The Taliban would ask whom they were to believe.

Akmal Dawi interpreted “tense talks” between Taliban and US who fought each other for two decades

On the Taliban side, Dawi said, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stankizai, who is the deputy foreign minister now, spoke 90% of the time, with Abdul Salam Hanafi and Amir Khan Muttaqi also expressing the group’s interests.

When talks got tense, the Taliban negotiators would be moving their lips silently as Stanikzai spoke. “We pray to Allah to help our representative as he talks and help us achieve our goals,” they told Dawi after the meetings.