UK Military Chief: No Reason for Taliban’s Jihad in Afghanistan

General Sir Nicholas Carter, Chief of General Staff of the United Kingdom, has said that the Taliban has no justification for their Jihad in Afghanistan now that foreign forces are leaving the country.

In an interview with TOLOnews, General Carter said that the Taliban are now fighting against the Afghan people, and they should avoid the war.

Meanwhile, the Afghan Presidential Palace has said that President Ashraf Ghani in a joint meeting with Gen. Carter and the Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Qamar Jawed Bajwa discussed bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Afghan peace process and ways to end the violence in the country.

“There is no reason for the Taliban ever to be talking about Jihad again, they are now waging war against the Afghans,” said General Carter, Chief of General Staff of the United Kingdom.

Asked if Pakistan is harboring the Taliban, Gen. Carter said: “The plain fact is Pakistan recognizes that it has the similar problem to Afghanistan in terms of terrorism. Indeed, General Bajwa often described it as a disease, and ultimately, that disease will really only be solved by Afghanistan and Pakistan working closely together to get after that disease.”

He added: “I am pretty confident that they both understand the problem in the same way and they will get after the problem collectively as partners.”

Ambassador Alison Blake, the UK’s envoy to Afghanistan, meanwhile said that the UK will continue its political engagement with Afghanistan and will cooperate with the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANDSF).

“Security in the country is something where we very much support the ANDSF in the government, the responsibility to keep citizens safe in Afghanistan is with the government, so, but we give the assurances that we can and that’s why it’s good that General Carter is here [to show] our support of the UK to the republic of Afghanistan, to our partners in the ANDSF and to the people of Afghanistan–whether that is through development, to the economic aid, humanitarian assistance or our political engagement and lobbying will continue,” said UK ambassador to Afghanistan Alison Blake.

Meanwhile, a number of political commentators have said the recent meetings between Pakistani and British military officials show that London is trying to facilitate a new security agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It is said that General Nicholas Carter has a long acquaintance with President Ashraf Ghani and his Pakistani counterpart General Bajwa.

General Nicholas Carter has also served in Afghanistan for several years while Ghani was serving as head of the security transition commission from foreign forces to the Afghan forces.

General Carter has so far facilitated several mediatory meetings between high level officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday welcomed the announcements by the Afghan government and the Taliban to observe an Eid ceasefire, and said “violence has been horrific in recent weeks, and the Afghan people have paid the price,” reiterating that the United States stands with the people of Afghanistan.

Khalilzad said that Afghans need “a political settlement and a permanent ceasefire.”

He called for accelerated negotiations among Afghans on a political settlement and “an end to this senseless war.

“This is what the Afghan people yearn for,” he added.

Khalilzad also in an interview with Der Spiegel published on Monday has said that the Afghan people are longing for peace and that there has to be peace and there is no better alternative.

“The Taliban spoke to the US and the European group in Berlin this week by video. They said they don’t see a military solution and say that the only option is a political one. Both sides have to be realistic about finding common ground. If there is no peace agreement, the alternative is not a Taliban victory. It is a long war,” he said in the interview.

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