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Afghanistan: Ahmed Rashid, ‘Winning Taliban, may not have done it all alone’

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Afghanistan, which after years of silence returns to the spotlight with the unstoppable advance of the Taliban after the start, in early May, of the withdrawal of international forces, at the end of 20 years of operations in the country, is the result of “many errors made by the Americans “, and not only, which mean that today” the Taliban are in a winning position “in a scenario in which a” common approach “would be needed, but lacking, and the” consequences “risk being” very serious ” , up to the “destabilization of the region”. This is how Ahmed Rashid, world-famous Pakistani expert, author of the bestseller ‘The Taliban’, is convinced that the “military strategy of the Taliban” is not only the result of the heirs of the movement founded by Mullah Omar. In an interview with Aki – Adnkronos International, Rashid notes the “mistakes made by everyone”, by the government of President Ashraf Ghani, by the United States, “especially in the negotiations”. He recalls the “concessions” to the Taliban, from the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners from the prisons of Afghanistan to “trips to the region”, to “meetings with various governments”. The Americans, he says, “are the first to blame for ignoring the reality of the situation” and “treated the Taliban as a normal ‘foreign entity'”, while the movement founded by Mullah Omar used the time to “plan the strategy of attack on Kabul “. ‘We don’t know what political agreement they think’ Will the capital fall as it did for Herat and other major cities in Afghanistan? “There are negotiations underway in Doha and I think also in other capitals”, Rashid replied, before the intervention of Ghani who announced “consultations” to avoid “further instability” in Afghanistan. The expert describes what in his eyes is a “desperate attempt by the Americans and Zalmay Khalilzad”, the US envoy to Afghanistan, to “come up with some sort of solution”. But, he notes, “the Taliban are in a winning position”. Meanwhile, there are “hundreds of thousands of displaced people who are arriving in Kabul, who are fleeing”, there is a humanitarian crisis and above all, he observes, “we do not know at what political agreement. think the Taliban “. Not to mention women’s rights, education, and neighboring Pakistan? “He played an important role in supporting the Taliban,” says Rashid, who speaks of Islamabad’s ‘dual’ policy. “The public one is for support for the peace process and the Doha talks – says the Pakistani journalist – But on the other hand they have continued to support the Taliban”. And, he continues, “no one can believe that this Taliban military strategy which has been so brilliant and effective is the result of the Taliban alone”. It appears, he notes, to have been “planned and implemented by a very professional group” of military experts. ‘China and other powers will think for their own interests, it will be a tragedy for the Afghans’ On the other side of the Afghan border, for a very short time stretch, there is also China. The Asian giant has never been involved militarily in the Afghan quagmire, but has always been attracted to it by ‘riches’ and worried about instability. At the end of July, the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, welcomed a Taliban delegation in Tianjian, led by the head of the Doha political office, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. Requests and promises. The Chinese, observes Rashid, “think about their interests”. “I think that will also happen with other powers – he observes – They will think about their interests instead of having a joint approach” after “unfortunately American President Joe Biden made a decision on his own”. And “it will be a tragedy for the Afghans”.

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