When the Taliban are ‘good, we are good’, a South African politician says

BASHTYAM, South Africa — A South African lawmaker says his countrymen are “good” when it comes to the Taliban.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Zwelith Zwelin said his country has become “very good” in combating the terror group in the last two years, but he also said it would take more time for the country to “become a good neighbor” to Afghanistan.

“There are two main reasons for that, one is that our Taliban are not as bad as they were before we invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and the second is that the Taliban now have more of a role to play in Afghanistan than they did a year ago,” Zwelfen said.

“But I think they have to be better, not only in Afghanistan but also in the rest of the region, to be able to bring peace and stability to the region.”

Zweli, who is the minister for education, said he believes South Africa has been the country of choice for the Taliban since the group’s inception.

“Afghanistan has a long history of conflict between the Taliban and other armed groups and the peace process has not been successful,” Zwelin said.

He said the government is “working very hard to address the situation of security” in Afghanistan, where a large-scale security operation in the southern province of Helmand in March ended in defeat.

Zweloin also said South Africa was “not alone” in having a positive relationship with the Taliban in recent years, adding that other countries in the region have “more positive and positive relationships with them.”

The country has made progress in its war on terror, which was launched by South Africa in 2001 with the aim of eradicating the Taliban insurgency and establishing an independent Afghan state.

Zweelin said the country has also seen an uptick in “foreign fighters” returning to Afghanistan to fight in the war on terrorism, as well as the emergence of “a new generation of insurgents who are coming back and trying to recruit and carry out attacks.”

The new generation is led by the Taliban’s deputy commander in Pakistan, Shahidullah Shahid, who was recently captured by U.S. special forces and sentenced to life in prison by a U.N. tribunal in Washington, D.C. Zwerlens country has been under a lockdown for months as a U-turn on the plan to build a border fence along the country’s border with Pakistan, and it’s unclear whether the Taliban will allow the border to be opened to the public.

The move has sparked anger among locals, who have protested outside the presidential palace in Islamabad and in other cities, and sparked accusations of a lack of leadership by the countrys President Jacob Zuma.

“The government is doing everything it can to keep the people calm and calm the country, but they are only doing it for the sake of money,” Zwerli said.

A South Africa-Afghan border crossing in Bali, Indonesia. AP