The Taliban bragged that “the international status of the Islamic Emirate will be strengthened even further” due to the international conference organized by Russia that will take place in Moscow tomorrow. The statement, which was released today on Voice of Jihad, repeated several key points that the group has maintained for well over a decade.
In the statement, Taliban spokesman Zabilhullah Mujahid said that the organization will not negotiate with the Afghan government
“This conference is not about holding negotiations with any party whatsoever; rather it is about finding a peaceful solution to the issue of Afghanistan,” Mujahid said. “There will not be any sort of negotiations taking place with the delegation of Kabul administration.”
The Afghan government, along with the United States, will not officially attend the meeting. However representatives of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council will be in attendance. The Afghan government rejected the invitation because the Taliban has refused to negotiate with it.
Mujahid also referred to the Taliban as “Islamic Emirate,” which is the name of its shadow government, and the name it gave itself before the US invaded Afghanistan after al Qaeda’s attacks on the US on Sept. 11, 2001.
At the conference, “the representatives of Islamic Emirate will clarify the policy of Islamic Emirate about ending the occupation of Afghanistan to the participants.”
Mujahid also noted that the Moscow conference provides a propaganda and diplomatic coup for the organization, as it has sought international legitimacy for its cause. The US, NATO and the Afghan government want the Taliban to join the Afghan government, while the Taliban has insisted on the US and NATO ending its occupation and has demanded a return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
“With participation in the meeting, the international status of the Islamic Emirate will be strengthened even further” Mujahid said. “Such diplomatic efforts of the Islamic Emirate showcase the active, clear and independent diplomacy and policy of the Islamic Emirate in the political field.”
For over a decade, the Taliban has refused to directly negotiate with the Afghan government, which it has branded as “illegitimate,” “un-Islamic,” and a “stooge” of the West. The Taliban has also refused to “share power” with the Afghan government, as it believes it has the upper hand and is winning the war. The Taliban has used the prospects of peace talks to extract concessions from the West, including the opening of a “political office” in Qatar, which it has used to promote its government, despite agreeing not to do so.
The US and NATO, both eager to end its involvement in the 17 year old war, have decided to leapfrog its plan to force the Taliban to the negotiating table, and instead has attempted to get the Taliban to cut a deal and participate in the Afghan government. The Taliban has consistently maintained that it views itself the only legitimate representative of the Afghan people, and its actions have matched its words.