Major General Michael Langley, who is United States Central Command Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy, said earlier this week that Afghanistan continues to be the locus of attention for Washington.
While interacting with a panel of experts at the United States Institute for Peace, Langley expressed that the “condition-based strategy for Afghanistan is necessary” and that the Taliban must engage in talks with the Afghan government. He said, “Let me be clear, Afghanistan remains the center of our attention. We know victory will require a political reconciliation. We know that condition-based strategy is necessary, and we know that the Taliban must engage in talks with the Afghan government”.
“Within the Taliban organization broadly speaking sort of three camps, when you talk about sort of the future of the organization in Afghanistan, for one you have got the more pragmatic side that is willing to at least attend discussions on a role for the Taliban in a stable political order in Afghanistan, on the other side the spectrum you have is those more extremist views that are happy to continue the fight until foreign forces are out of the country and even until perhaps the Taliban is once again the dominant political actor in Afghanistan. Now the third group I think are those that are if not more pragmatic than generally realistic in understanding that a stable Afghanistan is going to have to include the Taliban but also many other players,” remarked Jason Campbell, the former country director for Afghanistan, office of the secretary of defense and who was a member of the panel as well.
“The larger question we face here is whether bringing the Taliban, or a faction of the Taliban back into political settlement is going to really end the war,” added Dr. Orzala Ashraf Nemat, chairperson of Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) and another panelist.
These comments come after there are doubts cast over Washington’s commitment to Afghanistan. Recently there was a rumour that claimed that Washington might be wanting to bargain a delay in presidential elections of Afghanistan just so it could bring Taliban on the negotiating table.
However, many senior officials have reiterated and assured US commitment to Afghan peace led by the government.
As Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation visits the region again, experts and officials anticipate what is to come out of his visit. Moreover, many are looking forward to the Geneva Ministerial conference on Afghanistan which is to be held next week.