United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had a very good conversation with “the leader of the Taliban”, Abdul Ghani Baradar, a day after a partial truce agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government broke down, The Guardian reported. The terrorist group has resumed operations against security forces.
Baradar is the head of the Taliban’s political office. The call between Washington and Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban negotiating team is based, went on for about 35 minutes on Tuesday, the terror group said.
“You are a tough people and have a great country and I understand that you are fighting for your homeland,” Trump told Baradar, according to the Taliban. “We have been there for 19 years and that is a very long time and withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan now is in the interest of everyone.”
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid tweeted: “The President of the United States Trump held a phone conversation [with Baradar].”
The US president confirmed the conversation but did not give any details. He only said that both sides agree they do not want violence. “The relationship is very good that I have with the mullah,” he added.
On February 29, the US signed two agreements – one with the Taliban, offering to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan if the Taliban take part in peace talks, and another with the Afghan government, about the need for negotiations and an end to violence.
The agreement between the US and the Taliban also called for up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners to be released in exchange for up to 1,000 Afghan government captives by March 10, when the talks will begin. However, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected this aspect of the agreement. The Taliban wants the 5,000 prisoners released before it begins negotiations.
Zabihullah Mujahid said on Monday that the Taliban has resumed operations against Afghan forces, though it will not attack foreign forces. Deputy spokesperson for the defence ministry, Fawad Aman, said the government was “checking to see if [the truce] had ended”.