60pc Taliban ready for talks in Helmand: Qahraman
KABUL (Pajhwok): President’s special representative for security in Helmand province has said 60 percent of Taliban militants in the southern province are ready to hold talks with the government as they consider the war not a solution.
Abdul Jabbar Qahraman told reporters in Kabul on Saturday that they had launched ‘inclusive’ talks with Taliban insurgents in Helmand province and a large number of them had agreed to negotiations.
Qahraman, a lawmaker from Helmand, was appointed by President Ashraf Ghani as his representative to lead operations in Helmand about three months ago. After his appointment, Qahraman had said his appointment was aimed at strengthening coordination among security organs, subduing Taliban’s activities and planning to bring about a lasting peace to Helmand.
On Saturday, Qahraman told reporters at the parliament premises: “We worked on good process (in Helmand), we had inclusive talks with the opponents. I personally spoke to them (militants) face-to-face and I was able to convince 60 percent of militants that the war is not a solution to the issue, which should be solved through talks.”
Qahraman had previously also said he launched talks with group leaders, field commanders and other figures of Taliban militants and many had gone off the battlefield voluntarily.
He had said he had exclusive meetings with 4500 individuals who were now assisting him in bringing the conflict to an end.
Today, Qahraman said with people and security forces’ support and with creation of coordination among security organs, the conflict in Helmand has been controlled.
However, the Taliban are in control of four districts of Helmand and Babaji area of Lashkargah, the provincial capital. The rebels are in full control of Baghran, Dishu, Sangin, Musa Qala and Nawzad districts.
“The concern that Helmand will fall to the insurgents has been removed. Helmand will not only be kept from falling to Taliban, but all areas lost to the rebels will be retaken,” Qahraman said.
He said the Taliban wanted to turn Helmand into a massive battlefield because the province bordered Pakistan and Iran.
“Unfortunately our two neighbours (Iran and Pakistan) have no good intentions about Afghanistan,” he said and warned insecurity in Helmand would affect the entire southern zone and the zone would affect the whole country.
Clashes have been ongoing in various parts of Helmand, including the provincial capital, between security forces and Taliban militants.
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