A senior Pakistani official said Thursday that Taliban is prepared to open peace talks with the United States with the first rounds of talks today and Friday in Qatar.
Back in 2002, peace talks between the Bush administration and Taliban ended without any results, one year after the United States invaded Afghanistan as part of its war on terror.
Pakistan’s military chief of staff told Afghan leaders that Taliban is prepared for a sudden shift in policy, which also would signal a change for the Pakistani military that is considered to be behind Taliban.
The peace overture is not official and needs a wider agreement among Pakistani officials and the approval of Taliban’s spiritual leaders Mullah Mohammed Omar.
One factor working help compel the military to change course and go with a peace overture is last December’s savage Taliban attack against children in a school, which evoked shock among citizens and more suspicion of the military’s involvement with Taliban.
Using Qatar as the host to talk peace is interesting since it backs Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and perhaps can convince Obama that they represent Islam and not those “who have perverted Islam.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said last month that Taliban is an “”armed insurgency” and not a terrorist group.
Earnest said, as heard and seen in the video below:
It is important to draw a distinction between the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Taliban has resorted to terror tactics, but those terror tactics have principally been focused on Afghanistan.
They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism, they do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda.
The State Department does not include Taliban on its list of foreign terrorist organizations, while the Treasury Department defines it as a group of “specially designated global terrorists.”
Earnest explained that the Treasury Dept.’s designation means the United States can impose financial sanctions against Taliban’s leaders.