Veteran Afghan commanders to negotiate with Taliban - Balkan Times

Veteran Afghan commanders to negotiate with Taliban

It will be a challenge for any one force to rule Afghanistan for long without consensus among the many ethnic groups, analysts say.

Veteran Afghan commanders to negotiate with Taliban – A band of veteran Afghan leaders, including two regional commanders, are angling for talks with the Taliban and plan to meet within weeks to form a new front for holding negotiations on the country’s next government.

Khalid Noor, son of Atta Mohammad Noor, the once-powerful governor of northern Afghanistan’s Balkh province, said the group comprises veteran ethnic Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and others opposed to the Taliban’s takeover.

A band of veteran Afghan leaders, including two regional commanders, are angling for talks with the Taliban and plan to meet within weeks to form a new front for holding negotiations on the country’s next government.

Khalid Noor, son of Atta Mohammad Noor, the once-powerful governor of northern Afghanistan’s Balkh province, said the group comprises veteran ethnic Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum and others opposed to the Taliban’s takeover.

‘Surrender out of question’
Despite a commitment to negotiations, Noor said there was a “huge risk” the talks could fail, leading the group to already prepare for armed resistance against the Taliban.

“Surrender is out of the question for us,” said Noor, the youngest member of the erstwhile Afghan government’s team that held talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

Ahmad Massoud, leader of Afghanistan’s last major outpost of anti-Taliban resistance, last week also said he hoped talks with the Taliban would lead to an inclusive government, failing which his forces were ready to fight.

It remains uncertain how much popular support is actually enjoyed by leaders such as Atta Noor, widely accused of corruption, and Dostum, accused of multiple acts of torture and brutality, and described in a US Department of State report as a “quintessential warlord”. Both leaders deny the accusations.

The Taliban, already a formidable military force, are now in possession of an estimated 2,000 armoured vehicles and up to 40 aircraft, among other arms left behind by fleeing Afghan forces, potentially bolstering their firepower.

Still, Noor said the Taliban would not be able to hold out against popular resistance.

“History has shown that no one in Afghanistan can rule by force, it is impossible,” the Western-educated politician said. “No matter how much support they have from the international community, it will fail.”

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(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect BalkanTimes editorial stance.)

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