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TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Taliban’s Number 2: “You leave, we (might) talk”

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The Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press news agency has published an e-mail interview with the second-in-command of Afghanistan’s Taliban, Mullah Baradar Akhund (a hat tip to Juan Cole at the Informed Comment blog for sharing the US Government’s Open Source Center’s translation of the story – PDF version here).

In addition to the usual “we’re winning, we’re going to keep winning” message track, here’s some highlights from that:

“So, is Taliban linked to Al Qaeda, or is it independent of AQ? Yes … no … no comment … what’s your next question?”

The current jihad in Afghanistan is led by the Islamic Emirate. What the international community says about separating the Taleban and Al-Qa’idah is meaningless, it is just a pretext.

Where’s the Taliban’s bosses and Osama?

So far as the leadership of the Islamic Emirate is concerned, they are not in Pakistan. We can also say that the leadership of Al-Qa’idah is not in Pakistan.

“What outside help?”

In our fight against the aggressive forces in Afghanistan, we use weapons which were used by the mojahedin against the Russians. These weapons are still in Afghanistan. Some weapons dumps built during the period of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan still exist and the mojahedin use them. The mojahedin also capture some weapons and ammunitions from the enemy from time to time as booty of war, because the enemies escape from the battlefields immediately and leave all their weapons.

“Nobody’s negotiating with Afghanistan – nothing to see here”

Q: Have you ever talked to the government or the foreigners? A: No. Q: They say Abdollah Anas has negotiated representing the Taleban. Is he your representative? A: We have neither permitted anyone to negotiate nor do we have any representative by the name of Abdollah Anas.

“You leave, we (might) talk to Karzai and others”

Afghanistan has been attacked and invaded. If the aggressor forces take steps to end their invasion and put an end to their aggression and if we have guarantees of that, we will then explicitly announce our stance …. Karzai’s administration is a symbol and unclean sign of the Americans. The Afghans are very sensitive about and strictly hate the administration. Still, this is a question which could be answered when the aggressors leave Afghanistan …. Q: Are you ready to include former communists, the mojahedin groups which fought amongst each other and members of the current administration in the future system? A: This will be decided later depending on conditions.

Is this latest statement an attempt to shore up the united front Taliban leadership want the world to see? Or is it a denial that there are any cracks (seemingly splinter statements notwithstanding)? I’m going to agree with analysts saying it’s likely a bit of both.

(Crossposted from Long War Journal’s Threat Matrix)

Written by milnewsca

7 January 10 at 16:31

Afghanistan Opening the Door to Reconciliation with (Some) Taliban?

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Remember this, where we heard a former Taliban ambassador to the UN quoted saying this about one way to ensure bringing the Taliban to a loya jirga?

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?

Well, according to the New York Times and the German DPA news agency, Afghanistan’s United Nations envoy is asking the Security Council to “lift sanctions on elements of the Taliban that renounce violence and agree to support the government”.

It’ll be interesting to see:

1)  who Afghanistan, claiming they’re now willing to play nice-nice, asks to have removed from the the black list maintained by the United Nations Security Council’s Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee; and

2)  what the Taliban’s response will be, even though the most recent interview with the Taliban’s second-in-command Mullah Baradar (h/t to Juan Cole at the Informed Comment blog) suggests the Taliban’s centre still toes a harder line about talking to Karzai’s team in Kabul.

More on Baradar’s latest statement soon…

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