Taliban thinks they are on victorious end of bargain: Former Ambassador Rustam Shah

Taliban thinks they are on victorious end of bargain - Former Ambassador Rustam Shah
Islamabad: Commenting on the cancellation of Taliban and US meeting in Riyadh, due to Taliban’s demand of venue change to Qatar, prominent analyst and former Ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand

has said that Taliban feel that they are on the victorious end of the bargain and consider the Afghan government and US to be under huge pressure.

“In this scenario, the Taliban want to put conditions in front of the US, because backing out of their stance will be translated as weakness. Especially when the US has not formally announced any timeline for extraditing out of Afghanistan and Qatar pressurizing them, the Taliban considered postponement to be the only option”.

The former Ambassador made these statements while talking to the prominent anchorperson Dr Moeed Pirzada on his Prime-time Show “Live with Moeed Pirzada”.

While commenting on the status of Qatar as a client state of the US, he added that “Qatar and Iran have very close relations and Taliban have developed good relations with Iran over time”

Addressing a query about who will surrender first in this hot ball negotiation, the ambassador said that America has shown some flexibility and it is expected further to show some more flexibility in the near future. He said that on the issue of the extradition of the Afghan forces, Pakistan and China are on the same page “Pakistan and China want the US to withdraw its forces but they also want the US to extradite based on a set-formula of the mainstreaming of the Taliban. There are two methods to achieve this: one is through constitutional amendment and other is by convening Loyi Jirga”. He said that the current Chief Executive of the Unity Government isn’t a constitutional appointment “A Loyi Jirga was called and the position of the Prime Minister was created. It is the most pragmatic way forward for this issue”.
 
While discussing the Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat’s statement, the ambassador considered three main problems in the Afghan issue: “one is the Afghan government’ s reluctance to add Taliban in the Afghan Govt, second is US‘s ambiguous stance about the withdrawal of its army from Afghanistan and third problem is the Taliban themselves because they did not change their movement into a political movement”.

He further added that the Taliban view the ceasefire pessimistically because it would be difficult for them to integrate their volunteers if ceasefire fails; it will split their groups which is why they are afraid of ceasefire.

Commenting on the possible withdrawal of the US Army from Afghanistan, Mohmand said that perhaps the unpredictable behavior of Trump would give a surprise of withdrawing the US Army from Afghanistan within six months “Maybe it hasn’t been declared to stop attrition rate of Afghan soldiers to Taliban”.

“There will be a breakthrough in next few weeks because the people of Afghanistan are getting bored and leaving the country, this is an opportunity and Taliban should come to the table of dialogue”, the former Ambassador said.