Taliban stay powerful despite decade-long war: MassoudBy Muhammad Hassan Khetab Feb 23, 2012 - 19:59
KABUL CITY (PAN): A coalition of opposition parties on Thursday said the Taliban, backed by foreign intelligence services, remained powerful despite the decade-long war against them.
“The Taliban are not independent in their operations; they are waging the insurgency to serve the interests of Pakistan in Afghanistan,” said a leader of the Afghanistan National Coalition.
Ahmad Zia Massoud told a gathering that the insurgents should not be invited to the peace talks until they severed relations with the intelligence networks of foreign countries. The event marked the 32nd anniversary of the historic uprising by Kabul residents against Soviet troops in 1980
A former first vice-president, Massoud warned: “The war would prolong until interference from neighbouring countries is stopped.”
Coming hard on the government for parleys with the rebels, he said: “The Afghan government and the international community want to integrate the Taliban into the current political system. Unfortunately, the Afghans are unaware of it.”
A brother of the slain Tajik commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, he believed the Taliban would return to power after foreign troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 2014.
He called 2014 a turning point in the lives of Afghans, saying the international community had reduced its assistance to Afghanistan and foreign troops had already begun a pullout..
Massoud stressed the next presidential election must be transparent and the poll panel impartial. He suggested the vote be held under strict supervision of the international community.
He said a strong government, involving all political forces, was needed in Afghanistan to deal with the present challenges.
The coalition head, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, also criticised the ongoing peace process and said the people of Afghanistan were unaware of the nature of the contacts between the US and the Taliban, who were yet to show their willingness for talks with the Karzai administration.
He asked the Taliban negotiating with the US to make their identity public. The former foreign minister said peace with the fighters could not be made until all political parties and civil society were on board.
The Karzai government had been unable to take advantage of the opportunities it had over the past decade, he said.
“We believe clarity on the death of Prof. Rabbani will help reconciliation efforts,” he said, asking Afghan and Pakistani governments to help find the killers of his father.