• Karzai, Abdullah meet political, religious leaders
• Haqqani claims Massoud has ‘declared allegiance’
• Taliban official says members are accountable for actions
KABUL: Afghan Taliban’s top political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has arrived in the Afghan capital from Kandahar, while the key stakeholders on Saturday continued to make consultations with different political groups and leaders including women representatives as well as anti-Taliban famed commanders of Panjshir province to build a consensus for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.
Baradar, who co-founded the group and also took part in peace talks in Doha, would meet jihadi leaders, elders and politicians for an inclusive government set-up in the coming days, a senior Taliban official told AFP.
During the day, ex-president Hamid Karzai and chairman of high council for national reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah were seen leading the efforts for peace, stability and national reconciliation. Talks between different stakeholders were held at Abdullah’s residence in Kabul, days after both the Afghan leaders had met a senior Taliban official in Kandahar.
In a series of tweets, Abdullah on Saturday said: “Along with HE @KarzaiH, in last few days we met with Afghan leaders & politicians. We discussed the current situation, & ways of helping to provide the right security for the people of Afghanistan, especially for the citizens of Kabul.” He also disclosed that they met some members of the Afghan parliament, and women activists at his residence.
Sharing photos of the meetings, Abdullah said: “We met with the elders, religious scholars, representatives & commanders of Panjshir Province in my residence in Kabul. We discussed the current developments in the country, & ways of supporting peace & stability.”
Also, he said he along with Karzai met Abdul Rahman Mansour, the acting governor of Taliban for Kabul, and discussed the security of the citizens of Kabul. “We added that in order to return to normality in the capital Kabul, it is imperative that citizens of the capital feel safe & secure. Mr Mansour assured us that he would do everything possible for the security of the people of Kabul,” the statement added.
A Taliban official told Reuters their members were accountable for their actions, vowing that reported atrocities and reprisals by any of its members would be investigated.
Just a day ago on the occasion of Afghanistan’s independence day, ex-president Karzai in a tweet stated it was time to “unite all Afghans for the betterment of the war-torn Afghanistan and for the education, development and prosperity” of the country while expressing hope for lasting peace and prosperity.
Also, Abdullah welcomed Khalil Al Rahman Haqqani-led Taliban delegation at his residence and the two sides held a detailed discussion, while in the presence of ex-president Karzai talks were also held with Fazal Hadi Muslimyar and several other elders.
On Saturday, pro-Taliban social media accounts posted a video of Khalil Haqqani announcing that Ahmad Massoud — the son of Afghanistan’s most famed anti-Taliban fighter Ahmad Shah Massoud — had “declared allegiance” to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. However, no statement has come from Massoud about the development.
The Taliban’s Haqqani group leader also met Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former bitter rival during the brutal civil war of the early 1990s but still influential in Afghan politics.
It has been just a week since the Taliban completed a lighting fast takeover of the country, finally walking into Kabul last Sunday without firing a shot.
Since then, individual Afghans and international aid and advocacy groups have reported harsh retaliation against protests and roundups of those who formerly held government positions, criticised the Taliban or worked with Americans.
In the UK, many protesters rallied against the Taliban takeover and showed with those opposed to the new regime in Kabul. They marched behind a banner reading “Talib has not changed” while others held signs bearing slogans such as “stop the oppression of Afghan women”.
“We have heard of some cases of atrocities and crimes against civilians,” said a Taliban official while speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity. “If Talibs (members) are doing these law and order problems, they will be investigated. We can understand the panic, stress and anxiety. People think we will not be accountable, but that will not be the case,” he said, adding that the Taliban planned to ready a new model for governing Afghanistan within the next few weeks.
In his meeting with Khalil Haqqani, Abdullah said he supported an independent and unified Afghanistan based on justice and fairness. However, he said history showed that in the absence of social justice, providing security and strengthening national unity was impossible. Mr Haqqani assured him and others attending the meeting that the Taliban would work hard to provide the right security for the citizens of Kabul and asked for the help and support of political leaders and elders of the country in this regard.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2021