“Talking to the Taliban without the Afghan government in the room was a huge mistake,” the former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said in an interview with Fox News on Saturday, “because if we’re talking to the Taliban and the Afghan government isn’t involved, we are delegitimizing the government that we have supported at such cost of blood and treasure for years.”
Crocker said that the US should not be in a rush to leave Afghanistan, and it shouldn’t be willing to make an agreement on the Taliban’s terms.
“We’ll need to return to some kind of political process but it will have to be on a very different basis, it will have to have the Afghan government up front.” Crocker said, “if the Taliban won’t deal with that then we are just going to have to wait until they are ready to deal.”
Crocker, who served as ambassador to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, challenged the narrative that the US is in a weak, losing position: “We shouldn’t think we’re losing this war. We’re not. the Afghan government is not. There are 34 provinces in Afghanistan. Do you know how many of those provincial capitals the Taliban control? It’s a nice round number: it’s zero.”
“Remember that Afghanistan gave us the worst disaster we have seen on American soil in our entire history, we do not want to hand it back to the people who did that,” said Crocker.
Trump earlier this month called off negotiations with the Taliban, and subsequently said the talks with the group are “dead.”