The Afghan Taliban have vowed to continue their “jihad” to “establish an Islamic government” and have refused to accept “the constitution of the stooge Kabul administration,” even as the US and NATO continue to push for negotiated settlement with the Taliban to end the war.
The Taliban made the comments in an English-language statement that was released today on their website, Voice of Jihad.
“[T]he Islamic Emirate has been engaged in a struggle and Jihad for the past one and a half decade to establish an Islamic government …, ” the Taliban statement said. “It is for this purpose and for bringing about peace and stability in Afghanistan that we have increased our political efforts to come to mutual understanding with the world in order to solve the current ongoing situation.”
“But this understanding does not mean a surrender from Jihad and neither is it connected to an acceptance of the constitution of the stooge Kabul administration but rather the Islamic Emirate is utilizing its political wing alongside its military presence and Jihad in order to realize the national and Islamic aspirations of the nation and its martyrs.”
The Taliban have previously agreed to establish a political office in Qatar, but have stated that the purpose of the office is to conduct “prisoner exchanges” as well as to educate the international community about the Taliban.
For years, the US government has stated that the Taliban must end lay down their arms, accept the Afghan constitution, and renounce their ties to al Qaeda. Although previously the US had said these demands must be met prior to negotiations, the US has since said they are merely “necessary outcomes.”
In recent weeks, the US has said it is prepared to transfer five dangerous Taliban commanders with close ties to al Qaeda who are currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The Taliban want them transferred to Qatar, but the Afghan government has said the Taliban leaders should be transferred to Afghanistan. The US has indicated it is willing to transfer the five commanders from Guantanamo to the Taliban as part of confidence-building measures, without demanding anything in return.
As the US is prepared to turn over the five al Qaeda-linked Taliban leaders, the Taliban have in turn appointed Sheikh Mohammed Aminullah to lead one of the Taliban’s four regional councils. Aminullah, who in 2009 was placed on the United Nations Sanctions Committee’s list of “individuals and entities associated with al Qaeda,” was named last year to lead the Taliban’s Peshawar Regional Military Shura. Three of the four regional shuras are commanded by Taliban leaders who are closely associated with al Qaeda.
Additionally, the Taliban have continued their campaign of assassinations of Afghan government and military leaders. Just today, Sayed Fazuldin Agha, the governor of Panjwai district in Kandahar, was killed in a suicide attack. Agha was considered to be one of the most effective district governors in Afghanistan and was crucial in getting Taliban groups to reconcile with the government. And yesterday the Taliban targeted Kandahar Police Chief Abdul Razziq in a suicide attack.