Ex-commanders ask Taliban to surrender

Published November 16, 2001

QUETTA, Nov 15: Former Mujahiden commanders and important tribal elders of five provinces of Afghanistan have asked Taliban leadership to give up peacefully to avert bloodshed and pave the way for establishing a strong and stable national government led by ex-monarch Zahir Shah.

Speaking for the first time at a joint press conference, the tribal elders declared Osama Bin Laden a terrorist and said their foremost effort would be to get Afghanistan rid of “foreign terrorists” and bring peace to the war-battered country.

They announced that the Northern Alliance would not be allowed to enter Kanhahar and other provinces. They had already committed a great mistake by entering into Kabul, they said.

Those who spoke on the occasion included Haji Abdul Khaliq Nurzai of Farah, Mullah Malang of Kandahar, Mullah Ata Mohammad of Helmand, Qari Sher Mohammad of Uruzgan, Hameedullah of Zabul and Haq Bar Khan of Kabul.

“Very soon we will send a delegation comprising tribal elders, whom Taliban also respect, for holding talks with Taliban leader Mulla Omer. No date is fixed, but the team would visit Kandahar very soon,” Haji Abdul Khaliq Nurzai said.

He disclosed that tribal elders were also in constant touch with Mulla Omer’s followers and Taliban militia commanders.

In the interest of Pushtoons, the Taliban leadership must realize that Afghan people do not want the control of Kandahar to remain with their administration.

“Our effort is to convince Taliban to hand over Kandahar’s control peacefully so that the lives of area’s people are saved,” he added.

“War and fighting would yield nothing. We must sit together and decide our future in Loya Jirga,” Haji Abdul Khaliq Nurzai said.

About Osama bin Laden, he said the man is not only wanted by the US but also by the Afghan people “for being responsible for the killing of innocent people and destruction of their country.”

“We will hunt him and bring him to task,” he declared.

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