The Taliban denied today that any of its representatives were in “secret talks” with Afghan, NATO or US officials. Yet again, the Taliban stated that it will only negotiate peace after US and NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
Today’s statement was attributed to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, and was published on Voice of Jihad, the group’s official website that is published in five languages — English, Arabic, Dari, Pashtu, and Urdu.
“We reject the mentioned claim and emphasize that no such secret process exists,” Zabihullah stated. He then postulated that Afghan officials may be negotiating with Taliban impostors.
“But it is entirely plausible that some supposed Mujahideen faces or materialistic persons could have tricked the desperate and nescient Kabul regime into believing they are Mujahideen representatives. This however is a different issue and such people have no relations with the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate,” he said.
Zabihullah’s assertion that Afghan officials may be negotiating with sham Taliban is not as far fetched as it seems. In 2010, Afghan and US officials thought they were negotiating with Mullah Mansour, who at the time was the deputy to then Taliban emir Mulla Omar (Mansour replaced Omar as Taliban Emir after he died in 2013). The would-be Mansour even met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai before he was discovered to be a charlatan.
US officials, including General David Petraeus, cited the meeting as a sign of the willingness of the Taliban to talk. Instead, the phony Mansour disappeared after taking a large sum of money. For more background on this hoax, see Taliban Leader in Secret Talks Was an Impostor, from The New York Times.
Zabihullah was also clear that the Taliban insists on US and NATO withdrawal before any negotiations were to occur, and that those involved with negotiations must accept the “ground realities.”
“The Islamic Emirate once again makes it abundantly clear that the fundamental solution to the Afghan imbroglio lies in the withdrawal of occupying forces from Afghanistan and accepting ground realities,” Zabihullah said.
The Taliban has been clear what constitutes the ground realities: it will not share power with an Afghan government it considers to be illegitimate and un-Islamic, and views itself, via its government, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the only legitimate representative of the Afghan people. The Taliban has consistently maintained these positions for well over a decade, and its actions match its words. They are realities that the US, NATO and Afghan officials have failed to accept or believe.
Full text of the Taliban statement follows:
Remarks by Spokesman of Islamic Emirate concerning claims by NATO civilian representative
Yesterday the NATO Senior Civilian Representative Cornelius Zimmerman declared to the media that that unofficial talks continue to take place with the Islamic Emirate.
We reject the mentioned claim and emphasize that no such secret process exists. But it is entirely plausible that some supposed Mujahideen faces or materialistic persons could have tricked the desperate and nescient Kabul regime into believing they are Mujahideen representatives. This however is a different issue and such people have no relations with the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate. Following similar remarks by US general Nicholson a few days earlier, the Islamic Emirate also clarified at the time that they do not believe in secret talks and neither is anything of such nature taking place with anyone anywhere.
The heads of NATO and America are making such baseless assertions in order to keep the public busy and divert their attention away from ground realities and their own failures in Afghanistan.
The Islamic Emirate once again makes it abundantly clear that the fundamental solution to the Afghan imbroglio lies in the withdrawal of occupying forces from Afghanistan and accepting ground realities.
Making false claims can provide short-lived propaganda benefits but it only complicates the issue and can only be interpreted as the running away of occupying enemy from acknowledging core issues.
Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
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