'America can pick and choose who they call terrorists'
RT:So, a decade of war and it seems like nothing has been achieved. Does the US accept that?
Assed Baig: I don’t think that the US will accept that. But I think that the facts stand for themselves. A decade ago they said that they would not negotiate with terrorists, that they would not negotiate with the Taliban. And the Taliban have come back bigger and stronger, it seems. And now the US are forced to talk with them.
And also what we have to take into account is destabilization of the region because of the so-called war on terror, because of the occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan has become increasingly unstable and they have also been a victim of Pakistani Taliban attacks, at least some of the fighters crossing over the border and using Pakistan as a safe haven. And America is forced to use drones to try and fight these militants in Pakistan, which is again destabilizing the region and killing scores of civilians.
RT:Meanwhile, peace talks with the Taliban are under way. Does this not go against America's insistence it doesn't negotiate with terrorists?
AB: You know, America can pick and choose who they call terrorists. Sometimes they call them terrorists and other times they call them freedom fighters and allies. If you go back to the Russian occupation of Afghanistan – America funded these people and called them freedom fighters; and then called them terrorists. The same can be said about Libya, the same kind of fighters that were fighting in Libya - America called them freedom fighters.
And it’s the same kind of people that are fighting in Syria now. And America is a bit confused, some of them are terrorists and others are not.
I think this is a very dangerous game that the US plays and tries to sound very strong and says: “We are going to deal with this situation” or “We’re going to root out the terrorists from their holes,” as Rumsfeld, then Cheney and Bush were saying at the time.
And now it is very embarrassing for them that they have to sit down and negotiate with the very people that they were calling terrorists and were vowing to wipe out.
RT:International troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of the year. But Washington still wants up to 15,000 American soldiers to remain there. President Hamid Karzai won't sign off on that. Why?
AB: Because I think that Karzai’s position has become increasingly vulnerable. He realizes that the Americans, the West, are going to leave. And 15,000 troops are not enough to hold on the country. Already out in the countryside, vast areas of Afghanistan, the Taliban are ruling. It’s only the main cities that the Afghan army and the Western troops are holding down.
So, Karzai realizes that there is an increased anti-American feeling in the country. So once the Americans leave, his backup, his protection is gone. And essentially he is going to have to deal with the Afghan people. So he has to make himself increasingly independent, increasingly outspoken and maybe even increasingly anti-American just to protect his own position in the country.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.