US establishes contact with Mullah Omar

Published: June 14, 2011

Former Afghan Taliban spokesman is said to have facilitated the contact.

ISLAMABAD: 

The United States has established contacts with elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar to negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan. A former Afghan Taliban spokesman has played a key role in the US-Taliban communication, a source told The Express Tribune.

Abdul Haqiq, who was operating under the alias of Dr Mohammad Hanif as an Afghan Taliban spokesman, is said to have helped Washington reach out to Mullah Omar.

Dr Hanif was arrested by US and Afghan intelligence agents from a secret location in Afghanistan in June 2007. He was one of the high-profile Afghan Taliban spokesmen along with Yousuf Ahmadi, appointed after chief spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi was arrested in October 2005 in Pakistan.

So far, several claims have been made by the US about negotiations with the Taliban but Islamabad and Kabul have never been taken into confidence over the much speculated-about talks.

According to reports, the US had offered the Taliban control over the south of Afghanistan, while leaving the north for the other political forces under American influence. However, this was rejected by the Taliban.

“The acceptance of such a proposal could not be possible for the Taliban as it could lead to the disintegration of Afghanistan,” said former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Gen (retd) Hamid Gul.

However, a Pakistani diplomat in Kabul remains optimistic about the talks. “The Taliban are aware that it will be difficult to defeat foreign troops in Afghanistan, or capture the entire country,”  he said, adding, “Similarly, the US is also aware that it cannot defeat the Taliban in the next few years.”

On the other hand, a senior official in the Foreign Office is not as sure of the success of the US-Taliban talks. “Such talks are bound to fail as Washington is trying to achieve its goals without taking [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai into confidence. If at all the Afghan Taliban agree to the reconciliation talks, their preference will be with Afghan leaders over foreign forces,” the official argued.

Central Asian diplomats in Islamabad have also expressed their doubts about the practicability of the US-Taliban talks.

“On the one hand, the US is building six permanent military bases in Afghanistan, and on the other, talking about the withdrawal of its troops from the country,” an ambassador of a Central Asian state was quoted by a Foreign Office official as saying .

Iranian and Russian diplomats in Islamabad are also doubtful of an actual and meaningful US-led foreign troops’ pullout from Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, chief of the Afghan High Peace Council Prof. Burhanuddin Rabbani told the Afghan House of Representatives earlier this month that his council had made contacts with the Afghan Taliban. He further told the house that the Taliban were not willing to trust the Afghan government’s reconciliation process. “The Taliban nurse doubts about Kabul’s initiative,” he said.

The council during the last five years also contacted other armed opposition leaders such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as well as the Haqqani network, Rabbani claimed.

The council had previously said it had made direct and indirect contacts with the Afghan Taliban leadership, but the Taliban still seem to be insistent on their call for a withdrawal of US and Nato forces from Afghanistan as a pre-condition for talks with Kabul.

However, the Afghan parliament said that the achievements of the council have so far been satisfactory.

Former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan Rustum Shah Mohmand is also doubtful about the sincerity on the part of Kabul for the success of the so-called Afghan reconciliation effort. Mohmand told The Express Tribune that those who are enjoying government privileges in Afghanistan are not interested in the success of the effort.

“In real terms, such privileged people are opposed to the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan as they are very well aware that they will also have to pack up as soon as foreign troops are withdrawn,” he observed.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (52)

  • Kashmir lover
    Jun 14, 2011 - 8:42AM

    Deal with mullah umar!
    With Mullah Umar and taliban still alive when the US finally leaves Afghanistan, terrorism will only increase in the region Recommend

  • IWriteURead
    Jun 14, 2011 - 8:50AM

    Now that the contact has been established would they still keep searching for him or are we getting rid of US or extremists soonerRecommend

  • Saif
    Jun 14, 2011 - 9:38AM

    Double Standards….Recommend

  • sajid khan
    Jun 14, 2011 - 9:52AM

    hahaha, very funny now coward americans are escaping from the war, but sending terrorists to PAKISTAN for attack on the sensitive areas…..
    Such a coward Americans.

    PAKISTAN ZINDABADRecommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 14, 2011 - 10:05AM

    Taliban and the US had good relationship to start with. A Taliban delegation had visited newly elected George Bush in the White House. It was after 9/11 when US wanted Taliban to handover OBL, did they fall apart. Till the last moment before the US attack on AF, there was a hope that Mullah Omar might budge.

    Now OBL is history and Al Qaida weak and on the run, there is not much for the US to achieve. Taliban never attacked American and the US knows that they are a part of AF, and cannot be eliminated. Hence both sides have been talking for months. This is really nothing new. If they can talk directly, then why go through any third country including Pakistan and India? Recommend

  • ahmad
    Jun 14, 2011 - 10:24AM

    Taliban can ONLY be finished in long run by AfPak, in AfPak.. Nothing else. Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jun 14, 2011 - 10:37AM

    Was not Mullah Omar on hit list of the Americans and how come so suddenly he becomes an honourable person to talk to ? Recommend

  • Billy
    Jun 14, 2011 - 10:40AM

    After US withdrawl the only viable force in the country would be Talibans. I have a feeling that this time around when they march from South to north and get hold of Kabul, they would not stop there, and continue to move in the north-easternly direction. Islamabad is less than few hours drive from there.Recommend

  • Chilli
    Jun 14, 2011 - 10:40AM

    Good work US. You trapped Pakistan in your war and now making friendship with Taliban. Our Army was fooled well by US. But how fool we were to trust US again.Recommend

  • Osama
    Jun 14, 2011 - 11:11AM

    Maybe they ‘poked’ him on facebook..Recommend

  • wasim younis
    Jun 14, 2011 - 11:14AM

    i just hope this deal is a plan to capture him. The US needs to catch Mullah Omar now as he is the biggest threat in the region. Joint efforts with Pakistan and Afghanistan can catch this militant commander who has been active recently. We need to clean up this mess as soon as possible before its too late.Recommend

  • Zainab Ali
    Jun 14, 2011 - 11:56AM

    It is important for all the stakeholders of this peace process to understand the gravity of the situation and move towards an agreement, so that the decade long war in Afghanistan and Pakistan can come to an end.Recommend

  • Ali Wazir
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:02PM

    Lol Hilarious,Seems America had enough, Shabash Pakistanio abb apni jang laro!!Recommend

  • Capt. Ali
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:08PM

    The Arrogant US finally bent to bow at the might of the Afghan Taliban. I pitty their arrogance and helplessness. As long as the Afghan Taliban are dealt with respect as being native Afghanis, there would be peace across Afghanistan and Pakistan as there was peace before US invasionRecommend

  • Jun 14, 2011 - 12:11PM

    Look at the double standards, pressurizing Pakistan to fight Alqaeda, an American engineered outfit which they are again giving strength by giving them weapons to fight libyan state. Who would hold accountable US for its imbecile policies? now they are dealing with Mullah Omar for a peace treaty or God knows whatRecommend

  • ashwin
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:22PM

    American Plan allow Pakistan sponsored Taliban to hold on to South Afghanistan, while US of A will stay put to monitor China, Iran, controlling CAS resources.An interesting proposition for Pakistan and China.If this happens Pakistan will find itself in trouble in the Long run, wonder what other choices Pakistan has at this point. Recommend

  • D. Powers
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:38PM

    Ten years back, Pakistan advised the US to engage the Taliban Government diplomatically. The Taliban Government also showed signs of holding talks. But US was drunk with power, it wanted to bomb and kill, which it did. It is only doing what it should have done ten years back but now hundreds of thousands are dead and the monster of extremism is much bigger. Recommend

  • Akash
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:42PM

    US is building six permanent military bases in Afghanistan………India on one side and US-Afg on other … To whom ISI will export terror….Recommend

  • saleem
    Jun 14, 2011 - 12:51PM

    US always played double standards.Pakistani leadership should make some wise decisions.Recommend

  • adeel qadri
    Jun 14, 2011 - 1:09PM

    After being the 2nd most wanted target by US after OSAMA, they have established a contact with Omar to plea safe passage back to US forces. Or they will kill him in Quetta to tell the world that Pakistan have given him the safe home?Recommend

  • Azeem Anwer
    Jun 14, 2011 - 1:39PM

    @Kashmir lover:
    Would like to remind you that there was no terrorism in the region when Taliban were in power in Afghanistan. It’s the US which brought the terrorism to this region.

    US talking to Mullah Umar is like accepting that the US invasion in Afghanistan was wrong. And wrong it was. They have themselves created the chaos in the first place and now want the world to give them the due credit for solving the chaos.Recommend

  • Azeem Anwer
    Jun 14, 2011 - 2:06PM

    @Chilli:
    Quran at numerous places warns us that the Jew and Christian can never be your true friends. Unless you adopt their religion. So if we considered them our true friend then it was an error on our part not theirs.Recommend

  • Raza
    Jun 14, 2011 - 4:26PM

    @wasim younis: keep dreaming my friend.Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jun 14, 2011 - 5:00PM

    @Billy:
    Talibans have said that their only target is American presence in Afghanistan; not interested in any other country. TTP have no links with Talibans, and the same Mullah Omar has even condemned their attacks on Pakistanis (generally Pashtun) civilians.Recommend

  • adnan
    Jun 14, 2011 - 5:22PM

    this was proposed by musharraf in 2001 to bring non alqaeda people in govt but US insisted to crush taliban regime; had US listened to him world wud have been a different place. Recommend

  • Pragmatist
    Jun 14, 2011 - 5:48PM

    @Azeem Anwer:
    Have you ever asked the question whether they WANT to be your true friend? I know I wouldn’t.Recommend

  • Khurram Akhtar
    Jun 14, 2011 - 6:07PM

    Pirate of the CarribeanRecommend

  • Gul Khan
    Jun 14, 2011 - 6:36PM

    Can someone confim the authenticity of the report??????????? Recommend

  • Skintaj
    Jun 14, 2011 - 7:58PM

    and Pakistan asked USA to do this 8 years ago..What a sheer waste of life on ALL sides !!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • saad
    Jun 14, 2011 - 8:27PM

    flashback: according to reports which were conveniently ignored raymond davis was in touch with taliban leaders too! so who is terrorising who? and where does pakistan figure in this drama? like what was pak’s role when bush senior for sam’s advantage invited talibans to usa! (ref: michael moore) Recommend

  • saad
    Jun 14, 2011 - 8:42PM

    acc to reports raymond davis was in touch with the talibans too! Recommend

  • Mirza
    Jun 14, 2011 - 9:19PM

    Two things that are important and I may have not been clear in my initial post.
    US never had a direct war with Taliban. It was OBL who was a bone of contention. Now he is gone and handing him over to the US or giving him sanctuary in AF is a moot point.

    You only negotiate and bargain with your main enemy and not your chosen people. US have been dealing with his chosen people like Karzai but that is the not the final solution. Israel has to negotiate the real Palestinian leadership and not the few agents if they ever want peace. On a lighter note, Shahid Afridi is negotiating with “the worst people” in Pakistan cricket!

    Regards,
    MirzaRecommend

  • Mullah Omar
    Jun 14, 2011 - 9:22PM

    I am the future head of state so I will only talk to Obama if gives me an invitation to White House. Recommend

  • Thigni Billie
    Jun 14, 2011 - 11:18PM

    LOL……………….. And they complain about ISI for contacting “Talibans” !Recommend

  • Romm
    Jun 15, 2011 - 12:52AM

    Wen US leaves, we wil be able to concentrate on India. Isi with lot of operational expertise will engage India in more professional manner. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma
    Jun 15, 2011 - 2:04AM

    @Romm: “Wen US leaves, we wil be able to concentrate on India. Isi with lot of operational expertise will engage India in more professional manner.”

    Tide over the impending civil war in Pakistan before thinking of “concentrating on India”. Recommend

  • Kashmir lover
    Jun 15, 2011 - 8:04AM

    @Romm:
    Pakistan had been concentrating pretty much on india before 9/11, but what did it get? Only death to the terrorists that it sends. According to wikipedia, india has killed 20,000 terrorists in kashmir in the past 22 years.Recommend

  • Jun 15, 2011 - 8:37AM

    yawn. Yeah. The after-effect of the destruction of schools is showing itself. Barely any of you know the details to the events you’re speaking about, have one thing confused with another, aren’t separating things that are actually separate and on and on…

    I can’t find the ambition to care about anti-American sentiments anymore. Yep, we’re evil. We kick puppies and we’re aiming our missiles at your children but, those militants keep getting in the way and that’s where our true intentions lie in getting rid of them. We’re also currently working on a mass hypnosis tactic to make you compulsively want to shave your faces just because we can.

    Because of the war and having to deal with Pakistan, our war veterans will no longer have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from events experienced as the most common problem after returning. They’re going to have something new that makes them start shooting people every time they hear someone say something stupid.

    Run. Hide.Recommend

  • NJ
    Jun 15, 2011 - 11:40AM

    Mulla Omar…I read that he is dead; in the same news forum….let us play who is dead and who is alive!!!!Recommend

  • Gilbert Cell
    Jun 15, 2011 - 2:12PM

    So what should we call it then? That Americans themselves got trolled by the concept of 72 virgins? Which makes me wonder what will happen to the left wing wannabe pseudo- intellectuals liberal fascists now that they have been officially orphaned just like the right wingers at the start of the war.Recommend

  • Arslan
    Jun 15, 2011 - 3:53PM

    @Mark:
    Sarcasm doesn’t suits you at all, Sir. Will not speak a lot about America being ‘evil’ – everyone who can read can take a book on USA’s foreign policy in South America or Middle East
    Recommend

  • adam
    Jun 15, 2011 - 4:46PM

    Two men (a fool and a clever) met in a jungle, they were had old enimity, so they started fighting, and fell into a ditch, but still fighting. On asked the other to stop and listen, and said, well if you kill me you will also be killed, the other said how, the other person smiled and said, how you will get out of this deep ditch there is no way out. Then both of them started thinking, “dialogues” and decided, to help in a way that both should get out. The clever fellow asked to other, if you lift me on your shoulder, then I will get out and find something to pull you out. The fool agreed and the next moment, the clever was out. The fool asked the clever, to help who said, ok, waite for me , I am going to get a rope or a stick to pull you out, the fool was waiting till he died. Recommend

  • puden tame
    Jun 15, 2011 - 9:51PM

    @azeem anwer
    wrong, you are not to trust the non beleivers, christians and jews share the one and only god, and our prophets (PBo them) are the same christian and jew prophets all but Muhammed (PBoH) he was the last. the sayings are against those who do not recognize the one true god. but this is human rights issue not religous Recommend

  • Keith
    Jun 16, 2011 - 1:52AM

    First everybody in Pakistan was screaming for us Americans to get out. Now that we’re trying to, you’re screaming that we are betraying you.

    A little history lesson:

    The Taliban were created by Pakistan.
    The Taliban harbored Al Qaida that killed 3000 American citizens.
    We trusted Pakistan to capture Bin Laden in 2001 as he fled over toward the Pakistan border. Instead, your security forces aided and hid him away for ten years.
    Pakistan has continued to aid the Taliban–a bloodthirsty, terrorist organization made up of psychopathic killers justifying their good works on the back of the Koran–backstabbing we Americans every chance you get.
    You have taken billions in aid from us and seem to be diverting at least some of it to support this horrible organization.

    Recommend

  • Zabi
    Jun 16, 2011 - 10:24AM

    There are a couple of points that are not accurate. One is that the Peace Council in Afghanistan in led by Rabbani a former Mujaheddin leader, who is accused of committing grave human rights violations, has been around for less than a year not five years.
    The second point is that the MPs at lower house in Afghanistan are againsts the Peace Council and they view the establishment of Peace Council contrary to the Constituation, becuase the Afghan parlimaint did not play any role in its establishment.
    The third point is that Paksitani officails has control over Mullah Omar.Recommend

  • Zabi
    Jun 16, 2011 - 11:24AM

    Deal with Pakistan not Mullah Omer!Recommend

  • Rehman Azhar
    Jun 16, 2011 - 8:41PM

    Isn’t this what Pakistan has been saying since long ? Recommend

  • Parvez+Mahmud
    Jun 17, 2011 - 9:27AM

    Taliban… now good.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jun 17, 2011 - 5:22PM

    @Keith:
    Didn’t you force this monkey to mount your back to get your job done but now complain that despite feeding him for so many years he keeps biting you ha ha ha ? What cruel jokes with poor sense of judgement being played on the American people by its Presidents, whether it was Vietnam or Iraq and now Afghanistan ? R S JOHAR INDIARecommend

  • Keith
    Jun 17, 2011 - 8:47PM

    @R S JOHAR:

    While I’m sure the US and India share the same values, we weight them much differently. We dealt with Pakistan to keep the Soviets out. Meanwhile, India had no problem becoming best friends with this repressive dictatorship. Probably using the excuse that “they have their ways that they are perfectly happy with,” and that we shouldn’t interfere with how they choose to govern themselves. Problem is, they didn’t choose it.

    When you find yourself as the only nation that can effect the course of civilization, it is quite a cold splash of water in the face. It involves making tough decisions and whatever the outcome, the negatives will always be stressed by those who have no power and live in a la-la land, divorced from the realities of the world.

    India chooses not to become a world player. When something bad happens, you always have the excuse that you don’t have a military capable of effecting problems around the world. Then because, frankly, you don’t care what happens you can snipe from the sidelines and extoll the moral virtues of peace.

    In effect, you let the US deal with the world’s problems–as if you cared–while in reality can’t be bothered to spend a penny to do anything about it. The hypocrisy is off the charts.

    And by the way, while Vietnam was going on, weren’t you guys hacking Muslims to death by the thousands on trains? Just another wholesale slaughter on the sub-continent. Thanks for the lesson in morality.Recommend

  • R S JOHAR
    Jun 18, 2011 - 8:36PM

    @Keith:
    Appreciate your views but arrogance is pretty evident in your comments which is least surprising since its coming from a citizen of the only super-power of the world. However, Indians and Americans share many interests and values. After couple of decades on different planes, we have come much closer and friendship is growing from strength to strength.

    I agree that India took a back seat for two decades and chose not to become a world player but focused on its economy which has paid dividends to us. Even Obama acknowledges India as a regional power due to its strong economy. We now compete with China and hope to overtake their economy within a decade. This progress has been achieved since we kept away from the conflicts like Iraq, Afganistan and with Pakistan as well despite grave provocations.

    By the way you got the dates wrong on Vietnam war and India’s independence which took place in sixties and 1947 respectively. Both Hindus and Muslims were killed during partition and you can get the facts right on net which is readily available. Regards R S Johar Recommend

  • Jun 21, 2011 - 1:01AM

    What american have reportedly offered to Mullah Umar/Taliban is division of afghanistan and creation of ‘Greater Pakhtunistan’, combining not only the pushtu-speaking areas on either side of durand line but also pashtun area of baluchistan. Asfandyar Wali had already been brought around the scheme during his two visits to the headquartes of central command of the u.s. in florida in the past. Creation of ”pakhtunistan” is not the end game. This will give way to the dismemberment of Pakistan superimposing india as the ‘policeman’ of the region. The present rulers of pakistan have no stakes in the unity and solidarity of pakistan and they will willingly carry out the american agenda. The only force which can be stonewalled against this plan is the pakistan army. Those who are criticising the pak army are in fact unconsciously playing into the hands of pakistan’s enemy. ARISE PAKISTANIS AND OPEN YOUR EYES BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.Recommend

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