Monday 17 September 2012

Interviews with Taliban's Qatar negotiators

Taliban negotiator Sohail Shaheen
NHK World TV has broadcast interviews with two of the six Taliban negotiators in Qatar. In the interviews Sohail Shaheen - former deputy Taliban ambassador in Pakistan -  and Syed Rasool say they last met US negotiators in January, but that talks were suspended because of the failure to agree the exchange of prisoners and the opening of an official Taliban office. "If the American side implement the conditions which they agreed upon, there is no problem, no obstacle for the talks to resume. We are still abiding by that rule", said Sohail Shaheen, who added that talks with the Americans started in 2010 in Germany.
The most interesting part of the interview was as follows:
"Q: When we interviewed the US side, the US government said that the reason why the dialogue is stalled is that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan doesn't issue the statement which is to denounce international terrorism and dissociate from Al Qaeda. What do you think their claim ?

Syed Rasool
A: First of all, there are no Al Qaeda now in Afghanistan and even the officials of the United States of America, they admit this. Secondly, the statement, that would be a part of the understanding but that would be after the confidence building measures are taken. It will be followed by the confidence building measures but actually even during the time of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, no one was allowed officially to use the soil of Afghanistan. Our agenda is in Afghanistan non-intervention in other countries, maintaining good relation with all countries of the world because it is necessary we know for the construction and development of our country, we are living in this world, we have to maintain relation with the international community to benefit from their advancement, their knowledge. So, we know that. And also we focus on our country, our infrastructure of our country, industries of our country. This is our agenda. We do not believe in export of revolution to other countries. So, our agenda is Islamic nationalistic. "
I've seen no coverage of these interviews anywhere in the Western press. Hmmm.

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