The Afghan Taliban denied that a former senior official who was dismissed in 2010 represented the group in peace talks with the Afghan government. Additionally, the Taliban denied that it is currently conducting peace talks with the Afghan government in Dubai.
The Taliban again reiterated that Agha Jan Mutasim, the former finance minister for the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and the son-in-law of Mullah Mohammed Omar, does not represent the group. The Taliban also said that Mutasim’s actions are “detrimental” to both the Taliban and “the goals of the sacred Jihad.”
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan once again declares to all parties that Agha Jan Mutasim does not hold a position in the Islamic Emirate and neither can he represent it,” the Taliban said in a statement released on Feb. 20 on Voice of Jihad, its official website. “Similarly the Islamic Emirate considers the recent actions and activities of Agha Jan Mutasim detrimental to both the principles of the Islamic Emirate as well as to the goals of the sacred Jihad while being beneficial for both the invading Americans and their stooges.”
Additionally, the Taliban denied press reports that its officials have been or are currently in talks with the Afghan government.
“No representatives of the Islamic Emirate have either attended a meeting in Dubai and neither has talks taken place with the stooge Kabul regime or it’s so called High Peace Council,” the statement continued. The Taliban said that it has an official office in Dubai established to hold negotiations, and the fact that Mutasim would not or could not name officials involved in the talks should have raised alarms with the media.
The Taliban was responding to a report from The Express Tribune, which interviewed Mutasim in mid-February. In that interview, Mutasim claimed that a meeting was attended by “nearly 20 senior Taliban leaders, including seven former ministers in the Taliban government, eight senior military commanders and four former Taliban diplomats.”
The Taliban had previously distanced itself from Mutasim in August 2012, when it released an official statement on Voice of Jihad, which was titled “Clarification of Islamic Emirate regarding Agha Jan Mutasim.” In that statement, the Taliban said that Mutasim “was dismissed from his post by the leader of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan in the year 2010 for stepping over his bounds and for lacking transparency in his work.”
“He currently does not hold any posts with the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and neither can he represent the Islamic Emirate in any of his statements and actions,” the statement continued.
Like the Taliban’s most recent statement, the one from August 2012 also accused Mutasim of furthering the goals of the Afghan government and the West.
“While looking at the recent actions of Agha Jan Mutasim, it can be noted that they are not of his choice but are dictates handed down from others,” the Taliban said.
Mutasim is part of a circle of former Taliban leaders and spokesmen who have been expelled from the Taliban and still claim to represent the group in negotiations with the Afghan government and the US. This group includes Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, and Mullah Mohamed Tayeb Agha. The Taliban has openly denounced many of these leaders as “stooges” and pawns of the Afghan government and the West.
Mutawakil served as the Taliban’s foreign minister in 2001 and broke ranks after Omar refused to hand over Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11 attacks. He surrendered to US forces in 2002 and has repeatedly tried to negotiate peace agreements.
Zaeef served as the Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan at the time of the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. He was detained by Pakistani security forces in 2002 and was sent to the Guantanamo Detention Facility in Cuba before he was released in 2006. Prior to his arrest he had been considered a candidate to join the interim Afghan government.
Agha was a spokesman for Mullah Omar in the 1990s but has since fallen out of favor with the Taliban leadership.
And Mutasim’s fall from grace with the Taliban was swift. Almost immediately after being dismissed from his post in 2010, he was gunned down and left for dead in Karachi, Pakistan. Mutasim survived and fled to Turkey, where he received medical treatment.