By Matthew Rosenberg, Wall Street Journal
Add another group to the list of people with a message for the newly elected U.S. Congress: the Taliban.
In a rambling “open letter” to Congress, the Taliban’s spokesman said he wanted to present American lawmakers with “a true picture of the ground realities” of the war in Afghanistan, which he insisted the U.S. can’t win.
The spokesman, Qari Mohammad Yousaf Ahmadi, called on Congress to send a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan, apparently ignorant of the fact that representatives and senators visit Afghanistan all the time. But American lawmakers rarely leave heavily guarded U.S. facilities, moving only in armored convoys, because of the danger presented by the Taliban.
The letter was e-mailed to news organizations Sunday (Nov 7), and it differed little from the countless statements the Taliban have released over the years. Many have been aimed at Americans, at times directly saying so.
But this was believed to be the first addressed to Congress, perhaps an indication of how closely the militants pay attention to the U.S media, which of course has been filled in the past week with stories about Congress—and what Americans are expecting of their many new representatives.
Mr. Ahmadi wrote that the point was to give Congress “another side of the coin, more different from the one which is submitted to you by your generals, time and again.”
Much of the roughly 2,300-word letter, addressed to “Messers American Congressmen” and written in similarly problematic English, is stock rhetoric. Mr. Ahmadi blamed the U.S.-led coalition for the violence in Afghanistan; he denied any Taliban link to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, which he called the “September Event”; he said it was the Taliban, not the coalition, who had the upper hand around the southern city of Kandahar, where U.S. surge forces are engaged in a broad offensive.
“Still, instead of pondering over their mistakes, your military officers are bent on continuing the war,” Mr. Ahmadi wrote. “They irresponsibly give you distorted information about a losing war, trying to conceal from you their failures.”
It wasn’t clear whether the letter was actually sent to members of Congress or simply e-mailed to news organizations. Mr. Ahmadi’s phone was off by the time the letter began appearing in inboxes.