KABUL: The United States lost the war to the Taliban and chose negotiations as an alternative, said former US Special Representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Speaking to CBS News, Khalilzad said that the US military has tried to strengthen its position on the battlefield many times, but failed. “The negotiations were the result, based on the verdict that we did not win the war and therefore time was not on our side and it was better to reach an agreement sooner rather than later,” quoted Tolo News Khalilzad.
Khalilzad accused then-President Ashraf Ghani of the collapse of the Afghan security sector and said that his escape caused chaos in the Afghan capital.
He said Washington took a calender-based approach in deciding to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and did not take into account the actual situation in the country.
Despite the challenges and failures that remain in the past, Khalilzad believes that the US counter-terrorism mission was successful in the country, as “the terrorist threat posed by Afghanistan is no longer what it used to be” and al-Qaeda has been “devastated”. At the same time, the former envoy admitted that the country had not become a democracy in the 20 years of US military presence in Afghanistan.
“As for building a democratic Afghanistan, I don’t think the United States succeeded. The fight continues. The Taliban is a reality of Afghanistan. We didn’t beat them,” he said, realizing that the Taliban have a different vision for the country, but there is hope that the more moderate views will prevail as the movement breaks down.
On October 18, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Khalilzad had resigned as special envoy in Afghanistan.
Khalilzad said he made the decision to resign at a time when Washington began a new phase of policy towards Kabul after withdrawing from Afghanistan in August.