Afghanistan seethes at Taliban meetings it says held in Pakistan

Published: August 21, 2015
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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL: The new leader of the Taliban has met influential clerics seeking to heal a rift after the death of founder Mullah Omar, in the latest gathering to anger the Afghan government, which accuses Pakistan of allowing militants to meet on its territory.

Several key Taliban commanders pledged allegiance to Mullah Akhtar Mansour after his swift appointment to lead the armed movement in July, but other senior figures, including Omar’s son, reject the way he was selected.

“These clerics tried to remove differences between Mansour and other Taliban members,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters, referring to Thursday’s meeting. “They listened to each other’s viewpoint, but didn’t reach a conclusion.”

Read: Mansoor seeks time to settle Taliban head row

Combined with a chill between the neighbours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani indirectly blamed Pakistan for a spate of deadly bombings in Kabul, the leadership tussle has dashed short-term hopes of a new round of Taliban peace talks.

The council of clerics will rule in the next few days on whether Mansour should remain the Taliban’s chief, said sources in the movement, who declined to be identified as the topic is sensitive.

Deeper rifts are likely if Mansour and his supporters decline to accept a negative outcome. He is also backed by Al-Qaeda and the powerful Haqqani network.

It took the clerics several days to track down Mansour, prompting them to warn his deputy that the delay threatened the movement’s unity. Spokesman Mujahid blamed security concerns for Mansour’s lack of response.

AFGHAN FURY

The Taliban is fighting a war against the Afghan government, which says Pakistan should do more to stop top leaders and supporters it believes are openly meeting around cities such as Quetta since Omar’s death was announced last month.

Read: Ties with Pakistan tense as Afghanistan celebrates independence

“What would be the feeling of the people of Pakistan if the Pakistani Taliban held meetings in big cities of Afghanistan, such as Jalalabad?” asked foreign ministry spokesman Shakaib Mostaghni.

An Afghan delegation met Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week and gave him the names of specific sites where the Taliban leadership held meetings.

Pakistan says it believes the leadership councils have been meeting in Afghanistan.

Islamabad hosted a round of official Taliban peace talks last month, but a second round was cancelled when news broke that the Taliban’s unifying force, one-eyed leader Mullah Omar, had died two years earlier.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan since, as the Taliban seeks to show it remains a potent force.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • wb
    Aug 21, 2015 - 7:09PM

    Pakistan’s bluff has been called.

    Ashraf Ghani now knows what it means to be stabbed in the back.

    Pakistani establishment tried to take Ghani for a ride. Ghani now knows that he made a massive mistake by trusting the untrustworthy.Recommend

  • Aleem
    Aug 21, 2015 - 7:59PM

    @wb:
    Ashraf Ghani has no choice but to let the Taliban meet wherever they meet. Does anyone have factual proof that this meeting occurred in Pakistan?

    Secondly if there is to be an end to this war, then it will come by way of talks with the Taliban. 10 years of war and attempts to eliminate Taliban have come to naught. Perhaps Indians like you cannot understand this thus the Indian machinations in Kabul trying to turn Ghani against Pakistan through the use of their proxies in the Northern Alliance.

    When countries like Qatar also give the Taliban a formal recognition and political office, stop making an issue out of a non-issue with Pakistan. What if the meetings are happening in Qatar through the proxies of the Taliban?Recommend

  • IMTIYAZ
    Aug 21, 2015 - 7:59PM

    They are meeting in afghan soil and as proof when usa caught a pakistan taliban in Afghanistan and pakistan doing what you are doing so stop cryingRecommend

  • Bairooni Haath
    Aug 21, 2015 - 9:01PM

    It is just Pakistan being Pakistan!Recommend

  • Saif
    Aug 21, 2015 - 9:09PM

    don’t know wot do Pak get by helping terrorists ..Pak is international Migrane as described once by secretary of state in US!Recommend

  • Murali
    Aug 21, 2015 - 9:10PM

    Afghans are furious at Pak support to Taliban, India is mad at Pak efforts to export terrorism to its land and bleed it. Iran is worried about Pak support to Jundullah, China is concerned at the support Uighur extremists receive from elements in Pak. Wow, a nice neighbour to have!Recommend

  • Siraz
    Aug 21, 2015 - 9:11PM

    Pak is a bankrupt nation..rather than supporting terrorists ..they should work for the betterment of their own ppl ..they always try to focus on Kashmir coz they know that this is the only way they can divert attention of their ppl for the problems faced by them !Recommend

  • AA
    Aug 21, 2015 - 10:17PM

    @wb:
    Any diplomat working in the conflict zone knows it takes a leadership on the other side to negotiate for the insurgents. If you do not allow their disputed to get settled peacefully and let them aligned on one front no one person can negotiate with you. You can say good by to the peace since you can’t make multiple stake holders agree, especially the violent ones. If Ashraf Ghani want a long lasting peace in Afghanistan he must allow Taliban to settle with one leadership. Then there will be someone to negotiate with. We know Mullah Mansour is pro talks. He is backed by Haqqani group as well. He would be the best to lead the Taliban. It is in the best interests of Afghanistan and Pakistan to allow these people room and political role to come out from militant struggle.Recommend

  • Goldsmith
    Aug 21, 2015 - 10:41PM

    Looks like some people don’t want to solve Afghan problem that’s why they moan at every step. Get it into your head, unless you make peace with talibans, Afghanistan won’t be stable.Recommend

  • curious2
    Aug 22, 2015 - 12:20AM

    @Goldsmith:

    unless you make peace with talibans,
    Afghanistan won’t be stable.

    Sounds great … how’s that apply to Pakistan? People who argue for “making peace” often forget that the price of “making peace” is giving up the things that they value the most. I wonder whether you would give up the right to vote, the Internet, TV, Newspapers, Soccer, Cricket or the other things that you have associated with normal life?Recommend

  • someone
    Aug 22, 2015 - 5:21AM

    @Goldsmith:
    I wonder why you guys are fighting TTP and not making peace with them? Recommend

  • someone
    Aug 22, 2015 - 5:23AM

    @AA:
    Did you guys talk to TTP or did aerial bombing on them? Recommend

  • wb
    Aug 22, 2015 - 6:29AM

    @AA:

    For a second there, I thought reincarnation is possible for Muslims and you’re Hameed Gul’s next life.

    Instead of that, let me give you an easy and long lasting solution: eliminate Afghan Taliban, eliminate Haqqani and eliminate any other groups that are acting against the interest of Afghanistan.

    And then leave the Afghans alone, so they can manage their own affairs.

    Isn’t this easier? Recommend

  • wb
    Aug 22, 2015 - 8:54AM

    @Goldsmith:

    “Get it into your head, unless you make peace with talibans, Afghanistan won’t be stable.”

    Get it into your head. Unless you eliminate Taliban, there will be no peace, progress and prosperity in Pakistan.

    Pakistan will continue to be a failed state and may even disintegrate.Recommend

  • Linda
    Aug 22, 2015 - 6:07PM

    Very soon my tax dollar will not support Pakistan. Pakistan needs to stop lying and arbore terrorist groups. Money talks (not religion)!!!! Recommend

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