The Taliban has a released a series of statements threatening the Afghan elections this week. The statements are attributed to three different commissions within the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, which operates as a shadow government throughout much of the country.
The Taliban says its representatives met with an American delegation in Doha on Oct. 12. The group says that members of the “Political Office” of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” stressed that the “presence of foreign forces” is “the greatest obstacle obstructing true peace and solving problems.” The Taliban’s overall leader previously blessed “direct dialogue” with the Americans, so long as the talks focused on an American withdrawal.
The Taliban has released a new statement attributed to its emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who says there will only be “peace” when America leaves Afghanistan. Akhundzada blasts the current Afghan government as a “corrupt regime” and portrays the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as the only legitimate authority.
The Taliban has rejected a request by the Afghan government to extend its three-day ceasefire. The Taliban claims that the short-lived lull in the fighting proved that it has command-and-control over its forces throughout the country and that the mujahideen enjoy popular support.
The Taliban has announced that it will refrain from offensive operations against the Afghan government for three days during the Eid holiday. However, this is a shorter timeframe than the Afghan government’s announced ceasefire. And the jihadists say they will continue to attack the “foreign occupiers,” meaning the US and allied forces, during this brief respite. The Taliban also does not say it will participate in meaningful peace talks with the Afghan government.
The Taliban is touting the defection of Mullah Abdul Razzaq Mehdi, the purported “deputy” of the Islamic State’s Wilayah Khorasan. The Taliban is using his testimony to undermine the will of its jihadist rivals inside Afghanistan. But in so doing, the group reveals just how similar the two often are.
The Taliban released a statement attributed to its emir, Hibatullah Akhundzada, who says that “peace” is only possible if the “occupation” is ended. The statement is entirely self-serving and contains absurd claims. For example, Akhundzada writes that the Taliban wants a “free, independent and progressive Afghanistan,” which is completely inconsistent with the group’s ideology and history.
The Taliban has released an “open letter” to President Trump urging him to “adopt the strategy of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan instead of a troops increase.” The propaganda letter contains several erroneous or misleading claims. It is also disingenuous with respect to the jihadist threat emanating out of Afghanistan.