Taliban say ready to share power
A day after the Taliban opened their political office in the Qatari capital Doha, their spokesman Mohammad Naeem, told RFE/RL that their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had repeatedly said in his statements and speeches that they wanted a government that included all Afghans.
"It should be a government, in which all our people and their representatives can participate and be a part of. It should give Afghans the hope that it a government for all of them and this country belongs to all of them," Naeem said.
Asked if the Taliban are ready to negotiate with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's representatives in Qatar, Naeem said that the Taliban are ready "talk to all Afghans who come to the [Qatar] office."
He said the Taliban office was a response to calls by their opponents for the launch of a political process to end three decades of fighting in Afghanistan.
He said the office was based on an understanding between the Islamic Emirate, the formal name of the Taliban. “In 2011, we requested that the government of Qatar help open a political office for the Islamic Emirate in their country. Qatar has now in 2013 shown its willingness to act on our request,” he said.
He said this would be the first formal round of talks between the Taliban and the United States of America. “So we will not talk about any specific issues; it will be an opportunity to exchange views. It is possible that we will have a specific agenda for the second and third rounds of talks.”
He said the Taliban had previously no address or contact office where they could sit down with people and talk about issues.
About the security transition from foreign troops to Afghan forces, the Taliban spokesman said the entire world and their people were witness to the fact that foreign forces still operated in Afghanistan. “Despite calling it a transition to Afghan security forces, the foreign forces conduct military operations on their own. As long as foreign forces are there, we cannot call it the end of occupation.”
On their talks with Karzai government, Naeem said “Yes, one of the main objectives of opening this office is to meet Afghans. All Afghans can consult us in that office.”
“Our policy is clear. We have said that the problem in Afghanistan has two important aspects. One aspect is related to the occupation of Afghanistan by foreign forces; this is the important part. Until that issue is resolved, we see no benefit in talking about solving the internal aspect. We will think about addressing the internal aspect after sorting out our problems with the foreigners.”
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