TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Negotiations? No. Loya Jirga? Maybe, IF…
Some interesting material to be gleaned from a brief Q&A between Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and former Taliban representative to the U.N. Abdul Hakim Mujahid.
The biggest key message from the interview: can’t even consider a Loya Jirga of all the players before you remove some of the bad guys off the black list maintained by the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee:
The first important thing is to lift the sanctions on the leaders of the armed opposition. They are blacklisted and multimillion-dollar rewards are offered for some leaders of the opposition. They have not been recognized as a legitimate part of the political process. But no such step has been taken place so far. So it is not logical to invite a person who has a bounty of millions of dollars [on him for his capture and] ask him to give up his sanctuary and attend this Loya Jirga. He might get captured the next day and end up in Guantanamo Bay [prison]. Who will guarantee their safety?
Most recently, the official line from the Taliban Info-machine has been “no negoptiation until foreign troops are outta here.” What interesting in this latest RFE/RL interview is that, if the quote is word-for-word correct, there appears to be a lower standard for participating in a Loya Jirga…
Nobody would believe such talk unless foreign troops in Afghanistan act honestly, announce clear and transparent plans for addressing the issue, and announce there is clear platform about the presence of foreign troops.
This atmosphere will only go away when the foreign forces — the UN, the United States, and the United Kingdom — get rid of contradictions in their policies. Their policies are now riddled with contradictions. Sometimes they say we [will] not negotiate with the hard-liners fighting against us but have no problems talking to the moderates.
Also, as another pre-condition for Loya Jirga participation, the interviewee wants to involve NATO more, at least in agreeing on an approach with the Afghan government:
First of all, the government of Afghanistan should come to an agreement with the foreign troops based in Afghanistan in forming a unified strategy.