Abu Anas tipped as peace council envoy in Europe
Abu Anas is a son-in-law of Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a highly influential Palestinian Islamic scholar, who preached in favour of Afghan mujahideen and against the Soviet invaders, a member of the council told Pajhwok Afghan News.
A close associate of Prof. Rabbani during the Jihad against the Soviet Union, Azzam reportedly raised funds and organised the international Islamic volunteer effort of Afghan Arabs through the 1980s. He is said to have convinced Osama bin Laden to come to Afghanistan.
During a meeting with Prof. Rabbani after his visits to Dubai, Turkey and Norway, Anas sought a role for himself in promoting reconciliation in Afghanistan. Following his return from Norway about months back, Rabbani briefed council members on his plans to hire Anas as his representatives in Europe.
Asked if an Arab's role was needed to resolve the row between the Afghan government and Taliban fighters, the source said they had put the same question to High Peace Council leadership. "Rabbani is at the helm. He has to take a final decision."
When contacted, High Peace Council spokesman, Maulvi Qayamuddin Kashaf, said he had no information in this regard.
The Afghanistan Iqtidar Party chief, Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai, said he knew well Anas, son-i-law of Azzam. A former representative of Arabs in the Jamiat-i-Islami Party during the jihad, Anas had British nationality as well, he said.
Ahmadzai wondered why a man hated by Arabs had been included in the peace process. He said allowing everyone to help the reconciliation drive would not be in the interest of peace.
Asked if Rabbani had granted Afghan citizenship to Arabs during his presidency, Ahmadzai said that 120 Arabs, excluding Anas, had been given Afghan nationality for a year. However, that presidential order was not renewed, said Ahmadzai, who held key posts during the Rabbani presidency (1994-96).
Political analyst Waheed Muzhda said Anas, a resident of Algiers, was a close ally of the Jamiat party. He had good relations with bin Laden, before he disclosed some secrets about the Al-Qaeda leader, Muzhda added.
Due to his remarks against bin Laden, Anas was considered a puppet by some Al Qaeda members in their books. Since he has no links with Taliban or Al Qaeda, his role in the peace talks could not be very effective, the analyst believed.
The High Peace Council, having 67 members including eight women, was established last year to convince anti-government fighters to shun violence and return to the political mainstream.
In the recent past, the Dawn newspaper reported the US government, with the mediation of Saudi and Pakistani governments, had talked to Taliban with the help of five significant figures, including Anas.
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