Taliban claim CIA 'fabricated' truce letter from Mullah Omar
The Afghan Taliban have denied the authenticity of a letter that ordered fighters to cease attacks in Afghanistan and was purportedly signed by Mullah Omar, saying the letter was "fabricated" and distributed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Taliban issued a formal denial in a statement that was released today in English and other languages on their official website, Voice of Jihad.
"The intelligence circles of the enemy have recently distributed a fabricated letter attributed to the leader of Islamic Emirate in form of a statement in the several provinces and border regions of the country and as well as the adjacent tribal belt," read the statement, which is signed by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The Taliban said that the "fabricated letter put inside envelopes has also been given to some media outlets inside Kabul and other provinces by the Americans and their puppets [the Afghan government and security forces]."
According to the Taliban's statement on Voice of Jihad, "The letter states: (All the Mujahideen of the Islamic Movement should restrain their operations until the end of negotiation process in Qatar) and other such nonsense....This action is clearly the work of the intelligence agency of America (CIA) to deceive the people and for mischievous purposes ...."
The Taliban claimed the CIA issued the letter because the US and NATO are "facing frustration and have been shaken by the courageous blows of our Afghan nation."
The US is seeking a diplomatic settlement to the war in Afghanistan, and has attempted to open negotiations with the Taliban. The US has permitted the Taliban to open an office in Qatar to facilitate negotiations, and said it was open to freeing five dangerous Taliban leaders who have closely allied with al Qaeda in the past. [See LWJ reports, Taliban seek freedom for dangerous Guantanamo detainees and Afghan peace council reportedly seeks talks with Taliban commanders held at Gitmo.]
But the Taliban have said that before negotiations can proceed, the US must free the five al Qaeda-linked commanders detained at Guantanamo Bay and withdraw all foreign forces from Afghanistan. The Taliban have also maintained that the group would not participate in the political process or join the Afghan government, and instead insisted that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan be restored. In fact, the Taliban have described the opening of an office in Qatar as a political "victory" that would allow the world to recognize the Taliban as not only a "military power" but also "a well-organized political power."
In today's statement, the Taliban reiterated that they would continue to wage "jihad" until all foreign forces have left the country, and that they would redouble their efforts to eject US and NATO troops by force.
"The Americans must unequivocally understand that the ongoing Jihad and struggle against them is the Islamic and religious obligation of our nation which is our guiding principle and it will continue as long as there is an illegal foreign presence on this soil," the Taliban said.
"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan shall exert even more efforts to uproot such plots of the enemy, intensify its operations against the Americans, their allies and their despicable internal supporters and will continue unabatedly with its sacred Jihad until the complete withdrawal of all the foreign forces," the statement concluded.