WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Philip Giraldi pointed out that the Taliban were currently retaking territory from the US-backed Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani and therefore felt no need to compromise with or make concessions to Washington.
"Their demonstrated ability to expand the ground that they control would seem to rule out making any concessions to the Afghan government and its western partners at this time or even in the foreseeable future," he said.
The United States believes moderate elements among the Taliban could be part of the government in Afghanistan, Tillerson told reporters this week. The secretary of state said he hoped to engage in talks and eventually a peace process with the moderate Taliban elements.
Giraldi observed that Tillerson had chosen his terms carefully and that his offer in practice would require the Taliban to abandon their established political and military strategies and accept a democratic process imposed on US terms.
"[Tillerson’s] statement is speculative in the extreme and it suggests that the United States would be willing to be ‘inclusive’ if the Taliban agree to become social democrats, which is not at all likely," he said.
Tillerson’s comments would have made more sense if the Taliban were being defeated, and were aware of that fact, but neither of those conditions are currently being met, Giraldi explained.
Far from confidently starting a constructive dialogue with the Taliban, Tillerson’s latest comments revealed a serious ignorance of the assessments and thought processes of the movement’s leaders even though the United States has been fighting them for 16 years, Giraldi noted.
"The give-away in the Tillerson comment is the ‘we believe,’ suggesting that the United States government knows very little about the Taliban and its leadership even after 16 years of fighting," he said.
US political intelligence about the Taliban is still minimal, Giraldi remarked.
"The US appears to have no idea regarding whom it might talk to and what kind of inducements would have to be presented to start a dialogue," Giraldi said.
"They are also sending a signal that talks are not really on the agenda by asserting the beginning of a more aggressive posture in Afghanistan while the CIA is also promising to become more ‘vicious,’" he said.
Philip Giraldi, former CIA and US Army intelligence officer, is executive director of the Council for National Interest, a group that advocates more even-handed US government policies in the Middle East.