Sayed Muhammad Tayeb Agha, right, the former Taliban chief negotiator, speaking to reporters in 2001 in Spinbaldak, Afghanistan. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
New York Times: Taliban Envoy Breaks Silence to Urge Group to Reshape Itself and Consider Peace
KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban’s internal debate over whether and how to negotiate with the Afghan government is playing out in the open, even as there have been renewed attempts to restart talks.
Breaking with nearly 15 years of public silence, Sayed Muhammad Tayeb Agha, who until recently was the Taliban’s chief negotiator and head of their political commission, issued a letter about peace talks to the insurgency’s supreme leader over the summer and discussed reconciliation efforts in an interview with The New York Times in recent days, his first on the record with a Western publication in years.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times and appeared in the Afghan news media, Mr. Agha supported the idea of talks, and said the insurgency should be urgently trying to position itself as an Afghan political movement independent from the influence of Pakistani intelligence officials who have sheltered, and at times manipulated, the Taliban since 2001.
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WNU Editor: He is not saying what that "reshape" should look like, and he is not a military commander (he is a political officer) .... but I suspect that even he knows that the Afghan war has been going on for too long, and maybe now is the time to search for an alternative pathway to end the conflict.