A conversation between US President Donald Trump and Taliban representative Mullah Baradar Akhund shortly after the signing of the historic deal between the hitherto warring sides, where the president assured the ‘former’ terrorist of all help to reconstruct Afghanistan. The nature of the dialogue — a phone conversation — may not be quite comfortable for the White House to concede as real.
At around 05:40 PM Qatari time, Trump held a 35-minute telephone conversation with the political deputy and Chief of Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar Akhund according to the Taliban.
The Taliban released the details of the conversation soon thereafter in Pashto.
The release reads: “In the presence of a number of members of the negotiation team and Dr Zalmay Khalilzad, Mullah Baradar welcomed the first contact of the US President and added, ‘I, as the representative of the Islamic Emirate and the Afghan people want to assure you that if the United States honours the agreement concluded with us, then we will have positive future bilateral relations.'”
Mullah Baradar reported said, “Mr President! Take determined actions in regard to the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and do not allow anyone to take actions that violate the terms of the agreement thus embroiling you even further in this prolonged war.”
Mullah Baradar further said that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was a strong political and military force that aimed at — and has the potential of — “maintaining positive bilateral relations with you and other world countries”.
Mullah Baradar said, “National sovereignty and establishing a government of our own choosing in our homeland is the legitimate right of Afghans. Therefore, terms of the agreement must immediately be implemented, comprehensive peace established and the Afghan people given their basic rights.”
The political deputy of the ‘Islamic Emirate’ said, “It befits a developed country like the United States to give complete rehabilitation assistance to a war-tom Afghanistan and this is an appropriate action that shall positively impact the status of the United States.”
What the US president reportedly said in reply is what may make the White House squirm as he sounds like bending over backwards to appease the US’s newfound friend of compulsion. Trump reportedly replied, “It is a pleasure to talk to you. You are a tough people and have a great country and I understand that you are fighting for your homeland. We have been there for 19 years and that is a very long time and withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan now is in the interest of everyone.”
President Trump continued, “My Secretary of State shall soon talk with (Afghan President) Ashraf Ghani (Ahmadzai) in order to remove all hurdles facing the intra-Afghan negotiations.” He said, “We shall take complete part in the future rehabilitation of Afghanistan.”
Extensive discussions were held also over the implementation of the agreement concluded by both sides, as per the spokesman of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman reacted to the claim by the Taliban with a tweet that said, “I can confirm that some relevant @WhiteHouse officials we contacted for a comment (sic) were unaware of this even after the #Taliban had tweeted about it.”
The Taliban says that President Trump had assured Mullah Baradar that the former would personally try to remove obstacles facing intra-Afghan negotiations, which involves the most immediate issue of release of prisoners, which the Ghani administration is resisting. So, if the telephone conversation is an indication of the direction that the US takes during and after the troop pullout, it can be foreseen that the Ghani regime’s days are numbered.
This is a matter of concern for India too.