Afghan Taliban balk at removing flag, official name from ‘political office’ in Qatar

The spokesman for the Taliban’s “political office” in Qatar said the Gulf country had agreed to allow the al Qaeda-linked group to raise the Taliban flag and use the name “Political office of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” for its, well, political office in Qatar. Dr. Muhammad Naeem, the “spokesman of political office of Islamic Emirate in Qatar” released a statement at Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website, claiming as much. The statement is reproduced in full below:

Yesterday on the 21/06/2013, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper published a report regarding the use of the name and flag of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan on its political office in Qatar. The said report quotes the U.S Secretary of State John Kerry as saying that they had signed an agreement with the leaders of Islamic Emirate regarding the use of flag and name ‘Political office of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ on their political office while in reality, no such agreement has been signed nor does such an agreement exist although documents have been exchanged between the Islamic Emirate and the Qatari government regarding conditions of the office.

The raising of the flag and the use of the name of Islamic Emirate were done with the agreement of the Qatari government. The statement which states that by using the name and raising the flag, the Islamic Emirate somehow violated an agreement, then this allegation is completely false while the discord which arose due to panic by the Kabul administration is not related to the Islamic Emirate.

The spokesman of political office of Islamic Emirate in Qatar

Dr. Muhammad Naeem

The Taliban has seized on the desire of the US and NATO for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan and manipulated the negotiations process from the very beginning to achieve the goal of acquiring international legitimacy. While the US and Afghanistan have insisted that the Qatar office be used only as part of negotiations, the Taliban has used the office to serve as its de facto embassy to the world. The raising of the Taliban flag and the designation of the facility as the “Political office of The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” the same name the Taliban used during its rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, show that the Taliban has every intention of presenting itself as the legitimate party in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration is apparently so desperate to achieve a negotiated settlement that it is willing to sideline the Afghan government and hold direct talks, and even release five senior al Qaeda-linked Taliban commanders in exchange for a captive US soldier. All the while, the Taliban has made it very clear it will neither denounce al Qaeda and sever ties with the group nor join an Afghan government. Instead, the Taliban continues to insist on an end to the presence of foreign troops and a return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, ruled by the Taliban.

The sooner the West recognizes it is being played by the Taliban and wasting precious time and energy on negotiations that serve only to legitimize the Taliban, the better.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Gary says:

    You are presuming Obama will do something smart for a change… dont hold your breath, we need you alive to keep LWJ going…
    Obama couldnt get a new SFA in Iraq and that situation is devolving back to 2006, he’s left Syrian rebels to be taken over by AQI and Al Nusra [until recently when its likely too late], he helped end Ghaddafi and then left Libya to chaos… even when he does something right he manages to screw it up eventually. Getting Bin Laden and a few other leaders in Af-Pak is about all he can hang his hat on… and he wouldnt have even done that without his predecessor setting the table of tools for him… and now he screws that up with this ‘political office’ and getting ready to release the Taliban 5 at Gitmo… we must be in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone…

  • mike merlo says:

    how cute! No matter how one chooses to slice & dice this Secretary Of State Kerry is now the latest
    ‘Point Man’ for the Obama’s Administration latest ‘chapter’ in DisneyLand Diplomacy. ‘ConFuzUs Says?’

  • irebukeu says:

    @gary. Ok lets talk about a bad episode of the twilight zone.
    I will give my version using your talking points of a bad twilight zone.
    In my version of the bad twilight zone Obama DOES get a new status of forces agreement with Nouri al-Maliki but gives in to the condition that all American forces come under Iraqi law. This is what Maliki demanded as a precondition of US forces sticking around. This was a non starter for Obama in reality and a no budge position for the Iraqis. I was amazed at how many people thought he should just agree to the conditions to get the SFA without any thought of what submission to Iraqi Law means.
    considering this article from the Oct 18 2005 issue of the USA Today-
    “More than one in four U.S. troops have come home from the Iraq war with health problems that require medical or mental health treatment, according to The Pentagon’s first detailed screening of service members leaving a war zone.”
    So let me ask how many Americans should have been left behind in Iraq? 1 in 4 of those that survive will need expensive medical care.
    In this version of Iraqi bad twilight zone American serviceman get arrested and have to face Islamic courts in Iraq answering for their perceived slights against Islam or any other Iraqi law one can imagine.
    Switching the channel over to Syria the Bad episode of the twilight zone continues. This time, acting early before the al queda can get onto the battlefield Obama throws the entire weight of the American Air force into Syria because no effort should be half done and of course the Syrian air defense system not degraded by civil war gets to score a few successes on American aircraft leading to prisoners and worse situations
    Not only does the world get to see the dead women and children on Syria tube and the ANNA news network killed by American bombing missions, We will get to watch the carnage as Sunni militants do with the knife and fork what Sunni militants are doing in Iraq with car bombs and suicide belts.
    Alawite women and children desperate and despondent flood the mosques which America has kindly not bombed because after all WE are only bombing military targets. In this bad episode of the Twilight Zone the Mosques are standing room only as the al queda park a the butchers van out front.
    Moving west to Libya the twilight zone shows us what leading from the front can do for a nation. After the death of KIAdaffy America swoops in with 65,000 serviceman to fill the void of security left behind. In this episode 30,000 of those troops get pulled away along with most of the air assets because they are needed for the Syrian episode of the bad twilight zone.
    These twilight zones do not run one after another, they run concurrently on different pay per view channels and are all very expensive.
    We would be doing all of this while dealing with sequester and cuts to the military…
    What would be the cost of keeping tens of thousands of troops in Libya or in Iraq. what is the cost of moving the air assets to Syria and the expenditure of bombs, assets and lives that would come with the ground invasion that would be needed to stop a sectarian slaughter (which we would not be able to stop without great effort).
    One must wonder what Iraq’s response would be
    as we prepare the way for al Queda safe havens in Syria.
    As to what happens to the American POW in a bad twilight zone. One who is abandoned by his nation and just left there to his fate?……I think we all know how that would end in a Bad twilight zone.
    ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave when at first we willingly conspire to intervene.’


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