The New York Times came under fire Thursday after posting a commentary by the deputy leader of the Taliban, Sirajuddin Haqqani.
Headlined "What We, the Taliban, Want," Haqqani wrote a peace deal that would end America's longest war would also allow Afghans to "start moving toward lasting peace."
The Taliban said Monday a deal could be signed by the end of February, The Washington Post reported.
"For more than four decades, precious Afghan lives have been lost every day," Haqqani wrote. "Everyone has lost somebody they loved. Everyone is tired of war. I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop. We did not choose our war with the foreign coalition led by the United States. We were forced to defend ourselves.
"That we stuck with such turbulent talks with the enemy we have fought bitterly for two decades, even as death rained from the sky, testifies to our commitment to ending the hostilities and bringing peace to our country," he added.
Times senior correspondent in Afghanistan Mujib Mashal blasted his employer on Twitter. Mashal tweeted, while sharing links to reports by the Times showing what Haqqani's group has been accused of over the years:
"The piece by Siraj Haqqani in @nytopinion- which's independent of our news operations & judgment - omits the most fundamental fact: that Siraj is no Taliban peace-maker as he paints himself, that he's behind some of most ruthless attacks of this war with many civilian lives lost."
In an FBI "Most Wanted" posting, the agency said Haqqani "is wanted for questioning in connection with the January 2008 attack on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that killed six people, including an American citizen."
"He is believed to have coordinated and participated in cross-border attacks against United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani also allegedly was involved in the planning of the assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008," the posting states.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., tweeted he was "appalled" the Times had "given leader of the Haqqani network and leader in Taliban room in their editorial pages to espouse his views."
"Haqqani network is responsible for 1000s of Americans killed in Afghanistan and provides shelter to al Qaeda operatives... they sheltered Bin Laden," Banks railed.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., called Haqqani "a global terrorist" and his commentary "garbage."
"Did you pay him for this piece," she tweeted.
"Oh my God," tweeted reformist imam Mohammad Tawhidi.
"It's bizarre that the Times would helpfully publish an op-ed by the deputy leader of the Taliban, yet cannot stand the idea of their newspaper reviewing a New York Times best-seller by Mark Levin. In their mind, one of these men is beyond the pale," Media Research Center's Tim Graham told Fox News.
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