• publish: 12 July 2021
  • time: 3:40 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 18257
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Shaheen:

Taliban support negotiated settlement

The Taliban say they welcome Pakistan’s support for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan would not accept dictation from it.

Suhail Shaheen, political spokesman for the movement, said in an interview on Sunday night that Pakistan “cannot dictate to us or impose its views on us.”

Speaking to Geo News, he said: “We want brotherly relations with Pakistan — a neighbour and a Muslim country. We have shared values — historical, religious and cultural.”

Asked about reported contacts between representatives of the Indian government and Taliban, he replied there had been no meeting or contact.

“We expect India to remain impartial as this is our struggle — the struggle of the people of Afghanistan,” the Taliban spokesman added.

He urged India to align itself with the people of Afghanistan by supporting them, not a government imposed on them.

Shaheen rejected the impression that the Taliban viewed the use of force as the only way to rule Afghanistan. “A negotiated settlement remains our policy and there has been no change in it.”

He explained the Taliban were still holding talks and meetings with Afghan government negotiators in Doha on the same agenda.

He claimed security forces in some provinces of Afghanistan, having no confidence in the Kabul government, were voluntarily joining Taliban’s ranks.

Shaheen insisted the security forces did not trust the government in the past as well, but could not switch sides in the presence of foreign troops.

The Taliban spokesperson accused the administration of President Ashraf Ghani of showing the Taliban no flexibility during peace talks in Doha.

He went on to blame Kabul for violating the Doha agreement, which called for the release of all Taliban prisoners within three months. “But this has not happened.”

To the query if the Taliban were ready to embrace democracy and accept elections, Shaheen said: “We have an agenda for an Islamic Emirate. And so we put it on the table and so did they [put their agenda of] democracy. But we do not say that our agenda must be imposed.”

Shaheen made clear the militant group was not averse to the use of science and technology. “It is necessary even by Islamic standards. We will just ensure content is according to Islamic values, the demands of our people, our history and culture.”

About media and women’s freedoms, he said: “When we took over a northern province, we issued a statement saying all media outlets and newspapers and schools will remain functional.

“They can have more channels even. But the content, of course, will be in accordance with our values,” the spokesman maintained.

“We will not have an Islamic dictatorship. Women’s basic rights will be ensured. Access to education and work will be provided,” he promised.

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