KABUL AFP Feb20, 2020 - The deputy leader of the Taliban and one of the world’s most wanted militants has written an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he says the Afghan insurgents are “fully committed” to a deal with Washington.
The article, headlined “What the Taliban Want”, represents the highest-level statement from the group on months of negotiations with the United States, and comes as they are believed to be days away from signing an agreement that would see America begin to withdraw troops from its longest war.
It is also believed for the first time that Sirajuddin Haqqani --who doubles as head of the Haqqani network- a US-designated terror group that is one of the most dangerous factions fighting Afghan and US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan -- has given such a lengthy statement in English.
Previously he has communicated mainly through rare audio messages, usually in Pashto. The most recent one on a Taliban website was dated June 2017.
The leader of a group known for masterminding some of the most deadly attacks during the war and the frequent use of suicide bombers also says he is “convinced the killing and the maiming must stop”.