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“We welcome the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar, and we are happy about it,” Mullah Ehsanullah, a local Taliban fighter in the Zherai district of the southern province of Kandahar, told AFP by telephone. - File photo
“We welcome the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar, and we are happy about it,” Mullah Ehsanullah, a local Taliban fighter in the Zherai district of the southern province of Kandahar, told AFP by telephone. - File photo

KANDAHAR: Taliban guerrillas on Friday hailed the rebels' new office in Qatar as evidence of their success on the battlefield but vowed to fight on until all US forces leave Afghanistan.

The opening of the office in Qatar was seen as a first step towards a peace deal as the US-led Nato combat mission ends next year, but a furious Kabul accused the rebels of posing as a government-in-exile.

Talk of a meeting between US and Taliban officials has been put on hold, and the US has stressed the office must not be treated as an embassy for the hardliners who were ousted from power in 2001.

“We welcome the opening of the Taliban office in Qatar, and we are happy about it,” Mullah Ehsanullah, a local Taliban fighter in the Zherai district of the southern province of Kandahar, told AFP by telephone.

“With the establishment of this office, we want to hold talks with the international community like an independent and sovereign state.

“We are reaching our goals in defeating the US, now we want to free our country from occupation. We want to build our country on our own.” When the office opened on Tuesday, it used the title of the rebels' 1996-2001 government, the “Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan”, and flew the white Taliban flag -- a provocative symbol of oppression to many Afghans.

Afghanistan's envoy to the United Nations, Zahir Tanin, on Thursday described the opening as “theatrical”, which he said contravened an agreement on how the occasion would be managed.

Mursaleen, a Taliban fighter in the Ghaziabad district of eastern Kunar province, told AFP: “We have fought hard for our country to save it from the occupiers. When our demands are met, we will sit down at the negotiating table.” Another Taliban fighter in Kandahar in the south, who declined to be named, said that they had fought against the Soviets in the 1980s and against the US since 2001 for an “autonomous Afghanistan under an Islamic government”.

“We never backed this system we have today in Afghanistan,” he added. “They are doing everything just to be in power.

“We are happy about the opening of the office, but the Taliban leaders in Qatar must not make any deals to bring themselves into government, that's not acceptable to us,” he warned. A well-informed member of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan told AFP that peace moves would not impact the fighters' deadly campaign of roadside bombs, suicide attacks and ambushes.

“There is not likely to be any immediate change on the ground, with fighting ongoing despite the starting of talks,” he said, adding that any Qatar deal would be hard to implement as the insurgents were decentralised.

“Taliban representatives in Doha are not very powerful and influential within the insurgency,” he said.

“So they might not be powerful enough to impose the outcome of negotiations on the main shura (council) which has the power.” In Pakistan's tribal district of North Waziristan -- the country's most notorious bastion of militants -- a regular visitor told AFP that insurgents believe peace talks are possible only if all US troops leave Afghanistan and all Taliban prisoners are freed.

“It (the peace process) is new but I'm not very hopeful,” he said. “The Taliban know that the Afghan government may allow the US to keep nine military bases in the future, which means the US will not withdraw.

“In the mind of many jihadis, as long as the US is in Afghanistan one way or the other, they will fight them.” The Taliban on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a rocket attack that killed four Americans at Bagram, the largest US-led military base in Afghanistan.

On June 11 they also claimed responsibility for a suicide car bomb outside the Supreme Court in Kabul that killed at least 15 civilians.

Comments (20) Closed

devendra sharma Jun 21, 2013 11:37pm

It seems that any deal with Talibans will take Afganistan back to the position where every Afgan has to keep beards, no school for girls, no music, ladies can only go out if she has a male with her,no television, no sports, people of other faith will have no place in the country etc. etc. If this is what is going to happen then this is the high time Afgans to come forward to reject or to accept this deal.

Ayaz Khan Jun 22, 2013 02:58am

@devendra sharma: It will only means no Indian involvement in Afghanistan against Pakistan.

Rahmat Jun 22, 2013 03:43am

Taliban is simply ruthless band bent upon bringing tyranny and death to doors of average Afghans. They must be simply not allowed in any sphere of influence. They are bad for women in particular.

Ali S Jun 22, 2013 05:59am

This is high time for Afghans and Pakistanis to wake up. The US is trying to clear its name from the mess it has left behind in Afghanistan so they don't have to face any further repercussions - they can't wait to get over with this episode and get the hell out of that hopeless country. Meanwhile, it will be Afghans (and by extension, Pakistan) who will have to deal with the (inevitably) unfortunate aftermath of these 'peace talks'.

Aftab Jun 22, 2013 08:00am

The reason behind sidelining of Hamid Karzai's govt. and the talks with Taliban is that U.S. fears if there will be continued rift with Taliban, (who will definitely come out victorious after U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan) will give access to the Chinese to the rich and best uranium reserves of tora bora hills in Afghanistan.

Qaiser Bakhtiari Jun 22, 2013 08:32am

Can anyone explain to me how the hell did Taliban afford this expensive structure? unless as it has been said that behind this machinery of death and destruction, there exists hands belonging to the nouveau riche of Arabia. These Qataris and Saudis among others are answerable for the death and destruction of so many lives in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

ashraf a jamal Jun 22, 2013 09:11am

What's all this

El Cid Jun 22, 2013 01:49pm

Idealist Jun 22, 2013 02:28pm

If this is the solution why they haven't adopted the dialogue policy when they attacked Afghanistan, Why Americans have engaged NATO and Pakistan into this mess and war against terror, I strongly condemn these dialogue, If America is thinking that they can Strap the Wild Dog they are completely wrong. Insanely wrong move. Their only solution is beat them to death.

Regards Karachiite

M.Roshan Mahsood Jun 22, 2013 02:51pm

The interest in peace talks by America and Pakistan is just showing their faces in another shape. Who are Taliban and how can they have great political influence in today world-politics ? the answer is simple " Nothing ".Taliban are the by product of America and Pakistan defense policy. they are in their interests and not against their interest. in such scenario peace talks have no meaning but just to consolidate their defending fort in the shape of peace-talks with Taliban.

khan Jun 22, 2013 03:28pm

In Respond to Devondra Sharma comment i am sorry to say that your knowledge about Taliban is very limited If you look through out the history of Afghanistan you would see the most peaceful period is between 1997 to 2001 when Taliban were ruling the country no suicides no rape no robbing or snatching so i wonder why people blame Taliban not USA who has killed more than 35000 afghan in so called war against terrorism Afghanistan is typical tribal cultural country they are OK with their culture those who are trying to make it Europe there plan will foils let them be as they want to be no foreign troops has business over there you can say anything to Taliban but fact remain same that Taliban has won this war and this dialogue indirectly mean USA and NATO Defeat in Pakistan and at the end we should not forget Afghanistan is graveyard of empires.:)

Atif Jun 22, 2013 03:55pm

Pakistan wants to get rid of militancy so does US. Both have huge military presence and in case of US the sci fi technology as well. Yet the Taliban gather finances and resources to continue to attack at will and maintain forces and shura, and well established links with the outside world. So what is going on really. Is 1+1 not equal to 2?

PS: I hope this comment gets published before this news is too old to read.

Jamshed Khan Jun 22, 2013 09:54pm

Taliban are regarded as terrorists by the Afghan govt (and by many others). What bother me is this: They seem to have a lot of money to afford such a palace in Qatar; they have passports, probably Afghan; they get visas to travel around freely (as it seems). What is going on in the world? Perhaps I am not clever enough to understand this. Can anyone please explain all this?

alfe Jun 23, 2013 04:54am

@devendra sharma: I agree. I wonder why the people who claim that 'islam is a religion of peace' silent about it.

Mazhar Jun 23, 2013 12:35pm

Talibans are curse for humanity. Opening of their office in Qatar clearly show who are supporting them primarily....

gangadin Jun 23, 2013 02:22pm

Let's have peace in the region. Taliban are here to stay. What they do with Afghanistan, that's their business.

prashant Jun 23, 2013 02:51pm

@Ayaz Khan : bilkul sahi.. kyunki.. baaki sab jo taalibaani karte hai wo to tuhe kabool hai hi... no girl school women on job....and all..

Javed S. Jun 23, 2013 06:28pm

I think US should conduct negotiations with Taliban and other forces in Afghanistan keeping in mind, the talks done with Hanoi by Mr.Kissinger,former Secretary of State,and the final outcome,which was a total disregard of terms agreed upon by Hanoi regime during the negotiations.

Javed S. Jun 23, 2013 07:43pm

Pakistan's Civilian Government is not prepared nor able to handle the outcome of post US,Taliban negotiations,in 2013--2015 era,which in my opinoin,are not going to be very pleasant.

iqbal khan Jun 23, 2013 07:53pm

@khan: Just wondering what about 35000 Pakistanis killed by your dear talbans and also killing those who were praying in the mosques?