US Joint Chief of Staffs Believes Taliban are Not Losing

Top US Military official Gen. Joseph Dunford, at a meeting in Nova Scotia expressed that there is no way the Taliban are losing in Afghanistan.

“They are not losing right now, I think that is fair to say,” Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said of the Taliban during a discussion at a security forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “We used the term stalemate a year ago and, relatively speaking, it has not changed much.”

Dunford said that while there would never be a “military solution” on its own to bring peace to Afghanistan, just like many other officials such as the NATO Chief Stoltenberg also believe, Dunford feels that the United States and its NATO partners are working to accumulate military, political and economic pressure to pressurise the Taliban that it is in their own interest to negotiate a political solution to the crisis with the government in Kabul.

“Without going into detail here, we do believe the Taliban know that at some point they do have to reconcile,” he said. “The key to success is to combine all that pressure to incentivize the Taliban” to negotiate.

“I think we are a long way,” from being able to say that point of reconciliation with the Taliban has been reached, he said while simultaneously acknowledging that the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan were a successful feat, and he showed no doubts about the upcoming presidential elections too.

This comes after more than a week ago that NATO chief Stoltenberg pointed out that the Taliban in Afghanistan cannot ever win militarily. But in a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction report, it was shown that the Afghan government are losing grip on some areas of the country to the Taliban.

Although efforts at reconciliation are underway with US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad traveling to the region frequently and holding discussions with various stakeholders, the situation in terms of civilian casualties and security forces casualties seem grim.

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