TTP supports US-Afghan Taliban talks in Qatar

Published June 25, 2013
TTP spokesman Ehanullah Ehsan speaks during an interview on Tuesday. – Photo courtesy Zahir Shah Sherazi
TTP spokesman Ehanullah Ehsan speaks during an interview on Tuesday. – Photo courtesy Zahir Shah Sherazi

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban said on Tuesday that it supports peace negotiations between the US and the Afghan Taliban, a week after the Afghan insurgent leaders opened a political office in Qatar.

Spokesperson for the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ehsanullah Ehsan, in a video interview, said that the banned organisation had vowed allegiance to Mullah Omar and that any decision taken by the Afghan Taliban chief would be accepted.

"We accept all decisions taken by Afghan Taliban as we are their part,” he claimed.

In a separate interview with Dawn.com, Ehsan said that situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan are totally different from each other and administratively, the US-Taliban talks would not affect the situation of TTP in Pakistan.

About the revival of peace talks with the new PML-N and PTI governments, Ehsan said the TTP was assessing policies of both the parties and would definitely look into restarting the dialogue process once it feels the parties are independent in decision making.

“I don’t think they are free to take decisions on their own …… whenever Taliban have offered an olive branch, the CIA through Pakistani intelligence agencies’ connivance have targeted their leadership ….. from Naik Muhmmad Wazir to Baitullah Mehsud and Maulvi Waliur Rehman.”

To a query about the post US withdrawal scenario and launching an operation in Indian-administered Kashmir against the Indian forces, Ehsan said the TTP would support Kashmir’s freedom and make it part of “independent Islamic Pakistan but at present our focus is on Pakistan, however, our main struggle is for an Islamic South Asia.”

Accompanied by what Ehsanullah Ehsan said is Dr Asad, the former spokesman of the Mohmand Taliban, he said the TTP had never targeted the polio workers and never opposed health care to the public.

“But yes the TTP has reservations over Polio vaccination as it’s being used for spying as done by Dr Shakeel in identifying Sheikh Osama and number of others in North Waziristan Agency and also we have to establish the fact that they are not meant at affecting the Muslim youth.”

About reports of clash along the Pak-Afghan border with Afghan Taliban, Ehsan said they could not even imagine fighting with the Afghan Taliban. “However, some groups were trying to create the mess but we appealed to the Afghan Taliban supreme leadership who had amicably solved the problem and the clash has been averted,” he said adding, “we are hopeful, the problem has been taken care of permanently.”

The US-led Nato coalition launched the final phase of the 12-year war with the last round of security transfers to Afghan forces whereas the Taliban decided to open an office in Qatar and subsequently the US announced that it will launch talks with the insurgents.

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