Taliban Addresses Letter to ‘American People’, Urges Peace Talks
In a rambling nearly 3,000-word letter issued on 14 February, the Taliban urged the "American people" to press their government to withdraw from Afghanistan, reminding them that the Afghan war is the longest conflict in which they have been embroiled – and at a cost of "trillions of dollars."
The letter was addressed to "the American people, officials of independent non-governmental organizations and the peace loving Congressmen."
The letter promised a more inclusive regime, education and rights for all, including women. However, it seemed to rule out power-sharing, saying they had the right to form a government.
Despite informal and regular contact between the Taliban and senior Afghan officials, there are no prospects of early public peace talks that could bring an end to the protracted war.
In the letter, the Taliban railed against widespread corruption in the government and a burgeoning narcotics industry, from which officials say the insurgents make millions of dollars in taxes and tolls, charging those dealing in the drugs to move their illicit cargo to market. Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, the raw material used to make heroin.
The letter assailed US President Donald Trump's strategy announced last August that called for military force to bring a more compliant Taliban to the negotiation table.