U.S. makes secret deal with Taliban

April 17, 2011

TEHRAN - The United States has reached a secret agreement with the Taliban to give control of southern Afghanistan to the Taliban in return for a permanent U.S. military base in the area, according to an Afghan political expert.

In an interview with the Fars News Agency in Kabul on Saturday, Ghulam Jilani Zwak, who is the director of Afghanistan’s Strategic Research Center, said, “The establishment of military bases in Afghanistan by the United States will not help create peace and security, but it will cause more stress.”
He also stated that U.S. military and political leaders recently conducted secret negotiations with the Taliban about establishing a permanent military base in the country in return for the U.S. withdrawing its troops from the southern part of the country and allowing the Taliban to take over the region.
Zwak stated, “The proposal shows that the United States is willing to pay any price in order to establish a permanent military base in Afghanistan, even… recognition of the Taliban.”
He added, “Through the establishment of a permanent military base, the U.S. is trying to achieve two major goals: one is to concentrate its troops at one single base to reduce the tremendous cost of military intervention, and the second is to alter the nature of the intervention by starting a civil war, which would involve all Afghan ethnic groups.”
He went on to say that the U.S. will not be satisfied with bringing an end to the war, and thus, after nearly a decade of military intervention, the Pentagon wants to alter the nature of the war in Afghanistan in order to destabilize the region.
“After establishing the permanent military base in Afghanistan, the U.S. will widen the current crisis to other countries of the region, and the crisis will be managed through this military base,” Zwak stated.
On Wednesday, a former Afghan MP also told the Fars News Agency that through the proposal to establish a Taliban political office in Turkey, NATO is trying to destabilize the region.
“For decades, the Taliban has been seeking to gain recognition as a political entity from NATO member countries, and permitting them to establish a political office in Turkey is exactly what they have been striving for,” Mir Ahmad Juyandeh said.
Commenting on the Taliban’s current situation in Afghanistan, Juyandeh said, “Any official political activity by the Taliban could harm the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan because it would give them the opportunity to propagate their ideology and to undermine the efforts made by the Afghan administration, people, and parliament.”
Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, originally made the proposal to establish Taliban political offices in various countries, such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkmenistan.
The proposal was recently discussed on the sidelines of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) meeting in Ankara.
It has also been reported that the United States and some other NATO members are putting pressure on Turkish and Afghan officials to accept the idea.
Turkey is working to open a political office for the Taliban in Istanbul, a close aide to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Friday.
“It’s being negotiated right now,” Ibrahim Kalin told the Turkish daily Hurriyet, adding that the office would be located in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, Reuters reported.
Turkey has said before that it is open to the idea of the establishment of a diplomatic presence for the Taliban to help facilitate talks to end the war in Afghanistan.
The proposal first surfaced during a trilateral summit in December between Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan in Istanbul, in which Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Kabul would welcome any offer by Turkey meant to facilitate talks with the Taliban.
Former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who heads a council charged with starting peace talks with the Taliban, held talks with Turkish government officials in Turkey in February.
But former Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, who finished second behind Hamid Karzai in the Afghan presidential election of 2009, told Hurriyet that opening an office for the Taliban would help “legalize a terrorist organization.”
“Turkey has a generally constructive role in Afghanistan. However, we recently learned of plans to open a Taliban office in Turkey, which will not help build trust within a majority in Afghanistan who do not support the Taliban,” Abdullah said.