New Taliban leaders trying to strengthen control: US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): A senior Obama administration official has said new Taliban leaders are resorting to violence, as reflected in a series of terrorist attacks in Kabul, to establish their credibility.
“That’s what we all want to avoid,” the special assistant to President Barack Obama and senior director for South Asian affairs at the National Security Council of the White House told Pajhwok Afghan News in an interview.
Peter R Lavoy said: “I would highlight the statements that President Ashraf Ghani has made in light of recent attacks in Afghanistan … the succession under Mullah Mansoor, they are seeking to justify themselves as leaders of this movement, and they are resorting to violence to establish their credibility.”
Lavoy added aid all countries in the region – Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – along with the United States agreed to pursue a political process, seeking peace and stability in Afghanistan.
“So we are very hopeful that the new Taliban line-up would see a value on this as well as oppose continuing years and years of bloodshed in Afghanistan,” the official remarked.
He said the United States was genuinely surprised to recently learn about the report that Mullah Omar had died two years ago. The administration was unaware of his death in Pakistan two years ago, the official insisted.
“When I was in Pakistan last week, I asked senior Pakistani officials if they had known about Mullah Omar’s death before it was announced. They also said they were surprised. This came as a sudden shock to them,” he noted.
The US government had no reason to doubt Pakistan’s position, he said, adding only small group of Taliban leaders and family members had knowledge of Omar’s demise. “So I think, this came as a surprise to all of us. Really the situation we find ourselves in is how to respond to this...”
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