KABUL — The leader of Afghanistan’s Taliban has said there can be no peace in the country as long as foreign “occupation” goes on. In an August 18 statement to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday, Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada repeated that the Taliban remain committed to “Islamic goals” and the sovereignty of Afghanistan, RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan reports.  Akhundzada said the group “insists on direct talks with America” to bring the war in Afghanistan to an end.

The Taliban have experienced a significant resurgence in recent years and control territory across Afghanistan.  More than 100 Afghan security forces and about 30 civilians were killed in a Taliban offensive in the city of Ghazni that began on August 10. Afghan officials say dozens of Taliban militants were also killed in the fighting.  In other news, a delegation of Taliban visited Indonesia on August 12-15 and held talks with Indonesian senior officials over the Afghan peace process and withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, Taliban’s Qatar office said in a statement, Afghan broadcaster TOLOnews reported.

According to the statement, Taliban’s delegation was led by head of Qatar Office Mullah Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai.  The Taliban delegation met with Indonesian First Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla, Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and Hamid Awaluddin, Indonesia’s special representative for Afghanistan.

The Taliban delegation and Indonesian officials also held discussions on relations between Taliban and Indonesia, read the statement. Taliban’s delegation visited Indonesia after in May religious scholars from Afghanistan, Indonesia and Pakistan issued a declaration on the Afghan war and peace process in Indonesia. The Ulema (religious scholars) stated in the declaration that war and violence have no place in Islam and that Islam is the religion of peace and true believers should put into practice what this religion has said.

The religious scholars said they support any peace offer, efforts and declarations in hope of bringing peace and prosperity in Afghanistan. The declaration stated that the religious scholars of the three countries support the peace offer made by the Afghan government to the Taliban aimed to end war and violence in the country.  The declaration said the religious scholars also appreciate the regional countries, Muslim nations and the international community’s support to the Afghan peace process.  The religious scholars said in the declaration that the Ulema of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia can play a crucial role in promoting peace and that they support such efforts.


Written by TCA
Times of Central Asia