Taliban letter urges US to withdraw from Afghanistan

KABUL (TCA) — In a letter addressed on February 14 to “the American people, officials of independent nongovernmental organizations, and the peace-loving Congressmen,” the Taliban has urged the “American people” to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan, RFE/RL reported.

The letter reiterated the Taliban’s long-standing offer of direct talks with the United States, which Washington has repeatedly refused, stating that peace negotiations should be between the militants and the Afghan government.

The letter promises a more inclusive regime, education and rights for all, including women, but it appears to rule out power-sharing, saying the militants have the right to form a government.

In the meantime, in an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency, deputy spokesman of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense Mohammad Radmanesh said that the Taliban and Daesh are not the only terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and that there are some 20 similar terrorist groups in the country.

“Besides the Taliban and Daesh, there are other terrorist groups in Afghanistan, such as Lashkare Taiba [the Army of God, one of largest and most active groups in Southern Asia], Jamiat-i-Islami [the Islamic Congress, an Islamist political party in Pakistan], Goruhe Torkestane Sharqi [Islamic Movement of East Turkistan, a Uigur militant group that seeks to create an independent Islamist state in Xinjiang], Al-Qaeda, Jamaat Ansarullah [an extremist organization from Tajikistan], and Hezbe Tahrike Eslami [Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an Uzbek terrorist group], as well as other groups from South Asia and Pakistan, which play a primary role in violations of security in the region,” Ramanesh said.

The nation’s security forces also name other groups: Hizb ut-Tahrir [Party of Liberation, an international pan-islamist political party], Jeishe Mohammad [the Army of the Prophet], Maulvi Nazir [an influential Taliban offshoot] and Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan [an Islamic organization that unites various Pakistani groups].

Radmanesh said that the majority of the terrorists’ training bases are in Pakistan.

“There are terrorist groups being created in Central Asia as well, who then fight in this country. But they are not a threat to us. All schools and training centers for terrorists were in Pakistan,” he said.

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Times of Central Asia