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.
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