2020-03-04 › Trump Holds Phone Call With Taliban's Mullah Baradar
US President Donald Trump had a telephone conversation with the Taliban’s deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Tuesday evening, Qatar time, said Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.
President Trump, speaking to reporters about the call, said: "We had a good conversation. We’ve agreed there’s no violence. We don’t want violence. We’ll see what happens. They’re dealing with Afghanistan, but we’ll see what happens," adding "We had, actually, a very good talk with the leader of the Taliban."
According to the Mujahid's statement, the Taliban negotiating team, as well as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, was present during the conversation in which Mullah Baradar welcomed President Trump, saying: “As a representative of the Islamic emirate and the Afghan people, I can say for sure that we can have positive mutual relations in the future if the United States fulfills its commitments.”
“If you stay resolute in the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan and in future positive relations--and do not allow anyone to act against the agreed commitments," Baradar said, in a way that would keep the US "engaged in this long war.”
Baradar added that the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan is an "organized political and military force and has the will and capacity for having positive mutual relations with you (the US) and other countries in the world."
Baradar said that it is the right of the Afghan nation to form the government of its own choice and they have the "right of independence" in their country; therefore, the agreed commitments should be fulfilled as soon as possible, peace should come and Afghans should be provided their "fundamental rights."
“A developed country like the United States needs to fully assist war-weary Afghanistan in its construction. And it is a suitable act that will have a positive impact on the US’s image,” Baradar said.
Meanwhile, President Trump, according to the Taliban spokesman, said: “I am happy to talk to you. You are powerful people and you have a very good country. And I know that you are fighting for your soil. We have been there for 19 years and that's a long period. Now, the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan is in everyone’s favor.”
Trump, as quoted by Taliban, added: “State secretary (Mike Pompeo) will soon talk to Ashraf Ghani in order to remove hurdles from the way of intra-Afghan negotiations.”
Trump said that the US will take "an active role in Afghanistan’s reconstruction in the future," said Mujahid.
According to the statement, the two sides had a long discussion on the implementation of the (US-Taliban) agreement.
When asked about the call, President Trump told reporters at a press conference:
"We had a very good conversation with the leader of the Taliban today. And they're looking to get this ended, and we are looking to get it ended, I think we all have a very common interest. We'll find out about the country itself but the country really has to get it ended. We've been there for twenty years. Other presidents have tried and they have been unable to get any kind of an agreement."
Trump said: "The relationship is very good that I have with the Mullah, and we had a good long conversation today. And you know they want to cease the violence--they'd like to cease the violence also."
A reporter said to Trump: "The Afghan govt seems reluctant to turn over those 5,000 prisoners..."
"Well they may be reluctant, you know, they've done very well with the US for many years--far beyond military-- if you look at all the money that we've spent in Afghanistan. We've spent trillions of dollars, trillions of dollars, and we're really a police force, we're really not fighting, per se. It's a fight that if we had to, we'd win, but I don't want to kill millions of people. We'd win it fairly quickly but I don't want to kill millions of people. I think it's crazy..."
"Very soon it will be twenty years and I said right from the beginning-- 'not easy to get out of these conflicts'--very complex in terms of all the people you have to deal with including, frankly, people in the Senate, people in the House--a lot of people feel differently about things but I've been amazed at how positive the response is to getting out of Afghanistan and to moving on. I really had a great conversation with him today, yes."
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