KARACHI: As international leaders gather in Chicago to discuss the future of their mission in Afghanistan, Taliban insurgents have dropped a clear hint that they are ready for a negotiated settlement of the decade-long war.
But at the same time, they have asked Nato states to pull out from the country or else “they will be erased along with their terror”.
“The Islamic Emirate has left all military and political doors open. It wants to secure the rights of the Afghan nation through all possible ways,” Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement emailed to The Express Tribune on Sunday.
The statement denounced the United States for dilly-dallying on its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and accused Washington of insincerity in its efforts for peace dialogue.
“The Islamic Emirate views the invaders’ claims of finding a political solution as meaningless until they come out of their fluctuating unstable state,” he added.
In March, the Taliban called off talks with US officials in Qatar after accusing the US of reneging on its promises’. Though the Taliban did not list the ‘promises’, media reports claimed that the Taliban had demanded the release of some of their senior cadres from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre.
The Taliban statement also welcomed as ‘grounded on realities’ the newly elected French President Francois Hollande’s announcment that his country would pull out its troops from Afghanistan by the year-end. It called upon other Nato states to follow suit and stop serving ‘America’s political interests’ in Afghanistan.
The statement cited a survey conducted in April by CBS News and New York Times which shows that 69% of Americans want their troops out of Afghanistan. It pointed out that war fatigue was on the rise in Nato states.
The United States and its allies had invaded Afghanistan following the 9/11 terror attacks after the ultra-orthodox Taliban regime refused to hand over al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in connection with the attacks.
The Taliban statement, citing the Central Intelligence Agency, said that all but at least 50 al Qaeda operatives have fled Afghanistan. Still, the US is reluctant to pull out its troops from the country, which shows that they wanted to colonise it, it added.
Earlier this month, US President barack Obama signed a strategic partnership agreement with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai – which by Taliban interpretation is permission for permanent US military presence in Afghanistan. The statement also held out an assurance to the international community that they would not allow their soil to be used by anyone as a springboard for terror attacks anywhere in the world.
“The Islamic Emirate once again declares that it holds no agenda of harming anyone nor will it let anyone harm other countries from the soil of Afghanistan,” it added.
The statement also accused Nato forces of blatant rights violations, killing innocent civilians in night raids and indiscriminate bombing raids, torturing Afghan prisoners in secret cells at their military bases, and raising mercenaries to malign the Taliban.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.
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