Taliban unlikely to join peace parleys: US commander
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Afghan forces are performing better this year against the Taliban, a top Pentagon commander based in Kabul said on Wednesday. The forces have the momentum against terrorist groups this summer.
“We are cautiously optimistic about the coming months because overall we do believe they have some momentum right now,” said Brig. Gen. Charles H Cleveland, Resolute Support Mission’sdeputy chief of staff for communications.
He told Pentagon reporters during a video conference from Kabul that the Afghan forces showing gradual but steady level of improvement. One reason is that they have switched from a defensive mindset that they had last year into an offensive one.
Cleveland said. “You don't find that in every single location, in every single core, but by and large as an institution, you do find the ANDSF has switched this mindset into the offense.”
“The second thing is that they are getting better in employing their newer capabilitiesand that should be expected. As they have more practice and more experience, they are getting better at using these capabilities,” Cleveland argued.
The A-29 aircraft are providing them close air support, with the MD- 530 helicopters also being used. Finally, he said, the special operations capability continued to be really the pride of the ANDSF and.
Responding to a question, Cleveland said the US and Afghan forces should not underestimate the new Taliban leadership.“We shouldn't underestimate this guy. He's the one who's been sending Fatawas about sending suicide bombers out.
“He's the one that issued to Fatwas that it was okay for Taliban to kill Taliban, particularly those who did not support Mullah Mansoor. So, as General Nicholson says, "this guy does have blood on his hands."
Cleveland said he does not expect peace talks "anytime in the short term" with the Taliban's new leader, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. However, he hoped, some Taliban might want to abandon the fightafter seeing the precision strike that killed Mullah Akhtar Mansur.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.