@BillRoggio, @ThomasJoscelyn: Taliban want to negotiate only an end to US participation in Afgh; want to extract multiple concessions, and tie up the US in endless negotiations. No other purpose for the talks.

Dec 18, 2018, 04:27 AM

Photo: Wind tower in Dubai. Old-fashioned air-conditioning: the tower catches wind from four directions and channels it down into the house.

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Tom Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; & Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal; and Bill Roggio, Long War Journal and FDD; in re: US is striking Shabaab weekly, a major increase. In October, a little further south, US killed fighters in a similar strike in order to clear Shabaab out of strongholds. Shabaab has had the manpower to weather these strikes. . . .

US military strikes Shabaab “encampment,” killing scores of fighters December 17, 2018. The strikes were launched to "prevent terrorists from using remote areas as a safe haven to plot, direct, inspire, and recruit for future attacks," AFRICOM noted. .

Split: Gulf Cooperation Council, incl Saudis, and UAE vs Turkey and Oman. Taliban issued a statement that they’d meet with US reps today, which they did. Taliban have repeatedly denounced the current Afghan govt, as “merely a puppet of the US, so there’s no use in negotiating with it.” In fact, Taliban want to negotiate only an end to US participation in Afgh. Qatar is a known hub for Taliban fundraising; but UAE has also welcomed Taliban higher-ups. Taliban want to extract multiple concessions, and tie up the US in endless negotiations. Afghani’s reps were there, but Taliban strongly denied meeting with them. Taliban confirm meeting with US in the UAE. The Taliban has confirmed that it is meeting with an American delegation in the UAE on Dec. 17. Representatives from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE are attending as well, according to the Taliban. There was no mention of the Afghan government in the Taliban's statement.