Over the weekend, President Donald Trump repeated the canard that the Taliban is tired of fighting, and that is what is driving it to the negotiating table. Political, military, and intelligence leaders, as well as analysts and experts on Afghanistan have been claiming the Taliban is exhausted from fighting for at least 15 years. And yet the Taliban fights on while the US is desperate to leave.
Trump made the worn-out claim about the purported exhaustion of the Taliban during an interview with CBS News:
“And it’s time. And we’ll see what happens with the Taliban. They want peace. They’re tired. Everybody’s tired. We’d like to have- I don’t like endless wars. This war. What we’re doing is got to stop at some point.”
Trump is right about one thing: the US is certainly tired of the fight in Afghanistan. This is why Zalmay Khalilzad has been appointed to negotiate the terms of US withdrawal, and ultimately surrender, with the Taliban. But, as 17 plus years of fighting in Afghanistan has shown us, the Taliban is anything but tired.
Reports of a “tired” Taliban can be traced back to 2004, when the Christian Science Monitor quoted Al-Hajj Mullah Abdul Samad Khaksar, the group’s former interior minister who renounced it.