Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
Don't Worry, The Taliban Is Totally Cool With Sharing Power In Afghanistan
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
An official of the Taliban militant group, which now reportedly controls nearly half of Afghanistan, says the militant group is not seeking to rule Afghanistan alone in any future government structure and wants to co-exist with current institutions.
The statement by Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen on January 30 appears to be unusually conciliatory and apparently was aimed at easing concerns among Afghan leaders opposed to any peace deal that includes the insurgent group.
Shaheen, speaking in an audio message to the Associated Press, said the Taliban want to live alongside their countrymen "in an inclusive Afghan world."
The Taliban controlled the Afghan government before being driven from power in 2001 by a U.S.-led invasion after it refused to end support for Al-Qaeda terrorists following the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.
Taliban leaders, who took control in 1996, imposed a harsh form of Islamic law that denied education and work to women and girls as they cracked down on other social activities. They were accused by international groups of human rights violations.
Taliban militants are currently involved in negotiations in Qatar with Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. The militant group has so far refused to deal with the government in Kabul and has insisted foreign troops must leave before it will agree to a peace settlement.
Both the Taliban and Khalilzad have said that progress has been made in the Qatar talks, and the U.S. envoy this week said that "agreements in principle" had been reached toward a framework for peace.
In his statement, Shaheen stated that the Taliban were not seeking a "monopoly on power" as part of their peace talks. Many observers said the remarks could provide Khalilzad greater leverage as he seeks to gain backing from Afghanistan's leadership for his peace efforts.
"After the end of the occupation, Afghans should forget their past and tolerate one another and start life like brothers. After the withdrawal [of foreign troops], we are not seeking a monopoly on power," said Shaheen, who is based in Qatar, site of a Taliban political office.
Shaheen told the AP that another round of talks with Khalilzad is scheduled for February 25 in Doha, the Qatari capital.
The developments come as a U.S. oversight agency reports that the Taliban expanded its territory in Afghanistan in 2018.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) on January 30 said the Kabul government now controls or influences about 54 percent of Afghan districts, down from 64 percent a year earlier.
The Taliban itself has been beset by internal divisions. Afghan officials last year reported that clashes between separate Taliban factions killed dozens of militants in the country's west.
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.
WATCH NEXT: Jeff Schogol Starts A Twitter Beef With The Taliban
The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.
"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.
The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.
Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.
Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."
"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"
WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."
"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.
"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.
The Pentagon’s troop deployment denials means nothing when the White House screams ‘fake news’ all the time
The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.
We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.