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Why the Taliban are not terrorists? – Imran Jan

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15.03.2019

Imran Jan |

I am a Pashtun straddling both Pakistan and America. The US-Taliban peace talks have reached a point where an elementary understanding of Pashtunwali is a key to move forward. Zalmay Khalilzad is using his negotiating skills to reach an agreement with the Taliban for a settlement on the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

He is a Pashtun and he should know better but for reasons best known to him, he might be speaking Pashto with the Taliban representatives but with an American accent. The peace talks have shown signs of unprecedented hope. There is verifiable progress. However, one of the central issues slowing down, in fact thwarting the progress is a disagreement between the United States and the Taliban over the definition of terrorism and terrorists.

Zalmay Khalilzad is using his negotiating skills to reach an agreement with the Taliban for a settlement on the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The United States is demanding from the Taliban the commitment that the Afghan soil would never be used as a place for planning and launching attacks against the United States by “terrorist” groups. The Taliban do not mind not allowing their land for such an attack against the United States, however, they do not like the label “terrorist”. They are rather in favour of saying that the Afghan soil would not be used for ‘international attacks’.

Read more: Taliban take centre stage as Kabul cut out of peace talks

The Taliban contend that there is no universal definition of terrorism. Two important yet obscure facts about Afghan war need to be highlighted. First, the definition of terrorism is the calculated use of violence in order to achieve goals that are ideological or political in nature. Applying that definition makes many powerful countries leading terrorist states in the world. Perhaps, that is what the Taliban were hinting at. The second fact almost down the Orwellian hole is that when 9/11 happened, the Taliban had condemned the........

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