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We actually view the Taliban as being an important partner in a peaceful Afghan-led reconciliation process, says Pentagon.—Creative Commons
We actually view the Taliban as being an important partner in a peaceful Afghan-led reconciliation process, says Pentagon.—Creative Commons

WASHINGTON: The US Department of Defence has said that it’s no longer conducting counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan because it views the group as an important partner in its efforts for restoring peace in the war-ravaged country.

“What we’re not doing (is) counter-terrorism operations against the Taliban,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told a Wednesday evening news briefing in Washington.

“We actually view the Taliban as being an important partner in a peaceful Afghan-led reconciliation process. We are not actively targeting the Taliban,” he added.

‘No institutional presence of IS in Pak-Afghan region’

The briefing, however, focused on US efforts to defeat the Middle East-based terrorist group IS (the self-styled Islamic State) which also has some presence in the Pak-Afghan region.

Capt Davis said that some “lone wolves” in Pakistan and Afghanistan were using the IS brand to raise their stature but the group did not have an institutional presence in the region.

He said the IS had a “pretty good” command and control system in Iraq and Syria but those claiming to represent the group in Afghanistan and Pakistan did not have the command and control relationship with the main IS.

The Pentagon official said the United States was working “very extensively” with the Pakistani government in the fight against terrorists.

Capt Davis explained that while the Coalition Support Fund was aimed to enhance Pakistan’s ability to fight the Haqqani Network, it also helped develop other broader spectrum counter-terrorism capabilities.

In Afghanistan, the US ended its combat operations last year and its role there now was simply to advise and assist the Afghan forces, he said.

Capt Davis said the US also had “unilateral role” of being able to conduct counter-terrorism missions in Afghanistan primarily against Al Qaeda and its remnants.

“But IS would be fair game as well,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2015

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Comments (68) Closed

zafar Nov 06, 2015 07:37am

After 15 years USA realized this.when will pakistan realize that?

Shaukat Ali Khan Nov 06, 2015 07:42am

Institutional presence of IS will not be there in Pak-Afghan region till US desires or requires so.

Nadeem Nov 06, 2015 08:03am

Yes, for God sake move to peace now, already more than 100,000 killed!

Amin Nov 06, 2015 08:10am


Desi Bhai Nov 06, 2015 08:20am

What? Really???

Rohit Nov 06, 2015 08:21am

LOL, there's lesson 1 in Geo Politics......

When it comes to self interest Nations/Humans will go to any length and say any thing and make any deal :)

Imran Nov 06, 2015 08:26am

If u can't beat them join them.

M Jamal Nov 06, 2015 08:38am

To make peace,foes to be made partners,idea2015.

Dasaradhi.k Nov 06, 2015 08:39am

It's better for USA to befriend ISIS also and declare them partners in progress of peace. USA has destroyed Vietnam, Afghan, Iraq,Libia now Syria. God save this World

Badar Nov 06, 2015 08:41am

Amazing Development. Politics brings strange bedfellows together

Should not US thought about it long time ago? This is what they concluded after spending trillions of Dollars? Hats off to US has no parallel

L@l@1 Nov 06, 2015 08:41am

Salute to Taliban although I hate them a lot, but this is how you you bring a ravaging bull to its knees.

Srnivas Nov 06, 2015 08:44am

Poor Pentagon!

Ali Nov 06, 2015 08:49am

Is that why they unleashed cannon fire on the MSF hospital?? They were willing to risk the lives of doctors, nurses and civilian patients to kill high value targets.

America has a bipolar foreign policy and Pakistan (especially Pakistani military) should never place full trust in the forked narratives spewing from the Pentagon.

Al Nov 06, 2015 08:50am

Oh really

Ayaz Ahmad Nov 06, 2015 08:58am

Victory for Afghans.

Angry Pitbull Nov 06, 2015 09:26am

"Taliban is US Coalition partner"....really funny to hear this ...I would consider this line as joke of century.

1, US failed in Vietnam 2, US failed in middle east 3,US failed in Afghan List continues...

Khanra Nov 06, 2015 09:36am

Pakistan is quite convincing - we've managed to get the Americans to agree with our point of view. This will do nothing but help usa-pak relations if we can see eye to eye on Taliban.

aqdas Nov 06, 2015 09:37am

They became "reconciliation partners" after US couldn't defeat them.So the previous terrorists are now "reconciliation partners".Seems the terrorist definitions change according to circumstances.

Angry Pitbull Nov 06, 2015 09:39am

"Taliban is US Coalition partner"....really funny to hear this ...I would consider this line as joke of century.

1, US failed in Vietnam 2, US failed in middle east 3,US failed in Afghan List continues...

Raza Nov 06, 2015 09:44am

Really? After 15 years of war? spending billions of $$, innocent lives lost - The great super power just realized this what Pakistan is being telling you from the beginning !!!!!! Arrogant leaders

Danish Anjum Nov 06, 2015 09:45am

IK kept saying the same thing but the thought was rejected by governments, media and people.

hussain684 Nov 06, 2015 09:47am

So against who, the US came to Afghanistan???????

Hasan Nov 06, 2015 09:51am

But Pakistan should not allow any inch of our territory to be governed by Taliban or any rogue group. Americans have a habit of divide and rule and that is what they will do in Afghanistan.

A Proud Pakistani (Kashmiri) Nov 06, 2015 09:55am

Wow well done Pakistan, no doubt this has been the government convincing them to our POV. Truly marvelous diplomatic skills. US-Pak Friendship Zindabad!

Bitter Truth Nov 06, 2015 10:13am

US, a big hypocrite.

Tayyab Nov 06, 2015 10:27am

But there is a diference between TTP and Afghan Talibans, I support operation Zarb e azb

max Nov 06, 2015 10:41am

Any Afghan solution without the popular support (Pakhtuns/Talibans) will be short lived and counterproductive. If Talibans are partners with US where does that leave Indians in Afghanistan?

Atif Khan Nov 06, 2015 10:54am

That is a major turn around of US policy vindicating Pakistan's long stance that Afghanistan cannot be at peace with itself without active participation of the Pashtun (which basically implies the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani network, and other Pashtun insurgents). Smart of the Pentagon to finally recognize this reality.

AKB Nov 06, 2015 11:00am

This chapters of war in Afghanistan needs to be closed for ever.

Hamood Nov 06, 2015 11:06am

America never wanted to occupy Afghanistan. She just wanted to destabilize this region to gain some sort of control here so that no attack similar to 9/11 takes place from this region. Also they destabilized Middle East at the same time. May be they lost the war to Taliban but they succeeded in achieving their primary motives.

Jawad Nov 06, 2015 11:08am

talibans have killed and massacred thousands of people and daily killing hundreds of people in pakistan and afghanistan. They are not peacemakers! Pakistan espeically do not forget they killed 150 children in peshawar and many before that!!

Hamood Nov 06, 2015 11:10am

@Danish Anjum Brother Pakistani armed forces are fighting against TTP who killed our kids, women, elders and young. We should never forgive them otherwise it would be injustice to the families of the deceased. Every terrorist in our homeland should be apprehended or killed and there should not be any discussion about it.

Ravi Nov 06, 2015 11:12am

Taliban has changed itself, not sure if it is tactical? Can never ever trust them.

M.Malik Nov 06, 2015 11:12am

Oh how they change their tunes, when they've had time to p0nder, or have no other alternative!

I bet, ten years from now, they will be talking to Al Qaeda and ISIS to tame yet another monster which will be much more vicious than the present!

Even Iran was shunned and regarded as a Pariah state for 35+ years. Now, the U.S. Russians and Europeans are falling over each other to talk to the Iranians, for a business deal or seek her help in resolving the Syrian crisis.

Similarly, much of the West regarded PLO as a terrorist organization for decades, only to see Yassir Arafat visit the While House as a leader of the Palestinians, with all the protocol and respectability accorded to him. Stay tuned!

SMAZ Nov 06, 2015 11:14am

Haah, Obviously they have always been partners only. infact one and the same thing

Gul Dad Nov 06, 2015 11:15am

If Afghan Taliban are partners, than why not Haqqani Network who are part ane parcel of Afghan Taliban. If the US is in the mood of peace overtures, why she is asking Pakistan for action against Haqqani Network? US policy on Afghanistan is too confused?

Amjad Wyne Nov 06, 2015 11:18am

There are good Taliban and there are bad where are all those that disagreed with that concept... Cyril Almeida ... you have to accept that the boys were right all along

Zeeshan Nov 06, 2015 11:20am

This was what IK telling throughout the time. " Give peace a chance".

MERK Nov 06, 2015 11:22am

Wait and see this chapter of war in Afghanistan will have to be closed for ever because Russian military build- up has already started from Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.

Mustafa Nov 06, 2015 11:27am

Afghanistan has seen enough war. It is high time the US realizes that it cannot continue helping the people there with weapons. Education is the only solution. Due to war Afghanistan's clock for education and technological advancement and development has gone back 30 years. Please help educate and allow these people to rebuild their lives to grow as a peaceful nation. The world needs peace, not imperialism.

Ashfaq11 Nov 06, 2015 11:43am

@zafar us have to exit Afghanistan and therefore need to neutralise direct threats only. Afghanistan's security situation is getting worse and US have decided that long term security of Afghanistan is up to Afghanistan army. Pakistan on the other hand have a bigger problem of terrorism, sectarianism and separatism that directly threatens its economy.

s.khan Nov 06, 2015 11:53am

inconsistant US policies are distructive for world s peace.

Confused Nov 06, 2015 12:02pm

@Angry Pitbull ...US failed in Cuba, US failed in Panama....

Faisal Nov 06, 2015 12:21pm

US is like a bored kid who plays with his toys, one day the toys are his foes and the next day they are friends, just to keep the things interesting.

Ayaz Ahmad Guru Nov 06, 2015 12:24pm

It's a victory for Afghans resistance to foreign occupation, if Talibans are true representatives of afghan people they should credited for this.

ali Nov 06, 2015 12:25pm

At least, it became clear that US did not invade Afghanistan to put an end to taliban. Whatever their interests were, it came at a cost of thousands of lives. This openly contradicts the very idea of free world which has long been mantra of US. It makes one understand that states choose their strategic options and then try to rationalize them with fancy ideals.

Kandhkoti Nov 06, 2015 12:42pm

The plans of stakeholders in Afghanistan are about to be implemented . The current Afghan government that mainly consists of Northern coalition is neither ready to induct Talibans into government affairs nor does it want to engage itself with Talibans in talks. USA wants to keep its presence in Afghanistan at any cost while India is also not ready to close its consulates in Afghanistan. All these indicators predict a civil war in Afghanistan in days to come which will eventually split Afghanistan into two independent sates and perhaps this is the hidden agenda of vested interests in Afghanistan.

Naeem Nov 06, 2015 12:58pm

wao, Yesterday pentagon approves $100mil for pakistan to fight battle against Taliban and advised to boost the operation and today decides to negotiate with taliban in afghanistan i.e home ground or green field of taliban. isn't a true example of double standards or hypocrisy?

SYED HASSAN HASEEB Nov 06, 2015 01:09pm

USA pl leave this country alone you have damaged enough . you have always put a non representive govt in Pakistan through them did what y wanted to do. it will take us a lot of time to rebuild and stand on our two feet . unless y leave us alone we will not be able to do. the way world bank and other donors are giving money how this poor nation will pay back . y know and understand that this money is being drained but still y give why.

Mahmood Nov 06, 2015 01:14pm

Oh the hypocrisy!

The Talibans haven't changed. Its the U.S. strategic interests and priorities that have changed, with a little dose of reality!

After stretching its military to fight two parallel wars during 2003-2005, in Iraq and Afghanistan, neither of which turned out to be a failure, U.S. now sees itself fighting foes in Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.... Not to mention potential clash with the Russians over Syria!

Khanra Nov 06, 2015 01:17pm

@Danish Anjum

IK said that about pakistan Taliban. Totally different from afghan Taliban. IK said pakistani Taliban were mislead but patriotic. Then they shot dead 130 children.

Iqbal Malik Nov 06, 2015 01:53pm

I still believe these are just words, nothing else. The only solution is that foreigners go back from Afghanistan with no conditions and fair elections. Let Afghans decide about their future not America and west. By the way the West has not any policy, they just follow America as slaves.

vcbhutani Nov 06, 2015 02:09pm

This is the stupidest formulation emanating from Washington. Afghan Taliban have been the principal cause of instability of the present government in Afghanistan. There is hardly any doubt that Afghan Taliban, who have been at the receiving end of US-led hostility for years and years, are not going to suddenly become factors of peace and stability. If Obama also is party to this view, then he will achieve nothing in Afghanistan during the rest of his tenure and shall bequeath the problem to his successor in January 2017. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, 6 Nov 2015, 1439 IST

Riaz Nov 06, 2015 02:20pm

First terrorist, then insurgents and now reconciliation partners. The Taliban have not changed in the last fourteen years; what has changed is US perception which is like an Iguana lizard changing its colours to suit the environment.

haris Nov 06, 2015 02:59pm

@Ravi You know what, This statement from Pentagon is more punch for Indians who always have an opposite narrative. Now what? usa is leaving you with them.

Pardesi Nov 06, 2015 03:41pm

Peace? No!! US wants the Taliban on their side against Russia.

NSh Nov 06, 2015 04:28pm

Wow!!! This guy made my day! An excellent result after 15 years of “war with terrorism”! How many lives have been lost, how many wounded, became refugees?? It was clear from the very beginning, that US did not invade Afghanistan to put an end to Taliban. That was just the pretext. USA wants to keep its presence in Afghanistan for their own purposes at any cost. The only solution is that foreigners go back from Afghanistan and fair elections. Let Afghans decide about their future themselves.

fida Nov 06, 2015 04:36pm

American are a funny creatures. First they declare Taliban as terrorist and followed with bombing from the air which resulted in thousand of civilian dead and now a complete turn around by a declaration that "Taliban are a reconciliation partners." Do the Americans have any values. They will respond that all this is in there national interest.

Pakistani Nov 06, 2015 04:43pm

Can someone make sure the Pentagon official was reading the write statement. Maybe this was switched with the real statement. He probably did not notice. Now someone is in trouble for that. 'Taliban are important partners to achieve peace'. Shocking revelation.

lafanga Nov 06, 2015 05:10pm

Meanwhile India is handing out junk helicopters to Afghan army to fight the very same Taliban US sees as partners. Strange bedfellows.

Iftikhar Husain Nov 06, 2015 05:47pm

It is confused state of affairs I hope Taliban are ready to start talk this time.

hasha Nov 06, 2015 06:23pm

Its amazing that the Afganis have defeated three super powers:UK,USSR and USA.One thing we should all must understand that what the hollywood portrays in their movies are not on ground

ayub Nov 06, 2015 07:30pm

Reconciliatory partners or strategic partners?

Taimoor Khan Nov 06, 2015 08:16pm

From "we dont negotiate with terrorists" to "partners in reconciliation", and in the meantime, 50000 Pakistani citizens dead in this war of terror. Those who dragged our nation in this mess needs to be held accountable and punished severely.

goldconsumer Nov 06, 2015 08:38pm

Karzai should buy a house in New Delhi and apply for Indian citizenship

Muhammad Bilal Nov 06, 2015 09:54pm

Now what Afghanistan is going to do with all that junk trunks called Mi-25.

aslam shaikh Nov 06, 2015 11:32pm

First they attack them and conquer their government by force. Now they want to bring them back as partners.

Ahmand Zai Nov 09, 2015 10:37pm

The Taliban has looted, raped and killed innocent civilians just recently in Kunduz. It is proven that the newly elected leader of Taliban is directly involved in drug trafficking. Taliban hey are a poppet of Pakistan and they do not represent the Pashtons in Afghanistan. I am a Pashton and will never allow the Taliban to come to Afghanistan, if they do not comply 100% to the Afghan constitution. If they do not respect the rights of women and does not allow their girls to go to school, they better should stay in Pakistan and continue their culture with their Pakistani brothers.