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After stinging criticism, Gilani retracts statement

After stinging criticism, Gilani retracts statement

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Jan 10, 2018 - 09:44

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The National Islamic Front leader retracted his pro-Pakistaninfo-icon remarks on Tuesday when he said he had been quoted out of context.

Pir Syed Hamid Gilani said three days back: “We don’t accept rumours that Taliban leaders are somewhere else (Pakistan); they say this because of weakness.

“They (the Afghan government and the US) couldn’t do anything else; they lack ability and make pretexts. Most of Talibaninfo-icon leaders are inside Afghanistan.”

Gilani’s remarks drew vehement denunciation from the parliament, the government and civil societyinfo-icon activists. He was accused of promoting objectives of the Inter-services Intelligence (ISIinfo-icon) and supporting the Taliban.

Late on Tuesday, Gilani told a press conference in Kabul his words had been misinterpreted. He asked media outlets not to exaggerate the issue and pay attention to national interests.

Without going into details, he said the Taliban were ready for peace negotiations, as indicated by the release of 14 security personnel by the insurgent group in the Janikhel district of Paktia.

He also denied a former intelligence chief’s claim that Gilani transported a notorious leader from Pakistan to Kabul for a meeting with Anas Haqqani -- a prominent Haqqani Networkinfo-icon member.

On his Facebook wall, Rahmatullah Nabil wrote on Tuesday Gilani had repeatedly transported a notorious leader of the Haqqani network, Sher Khan, in his personal car from Islamabad to Kabul.

Nabil added the government was well aware that the deadly attacks in Kabul were being carried out by the Haqqani network. However, he said, the assaults were claimed by Daesh.

But the National Islamic Front leader said: “I never go to Pakistan by road, so these allegations have no basis and the press should not seek to denigrate political figures and parties.”

Gilani added any decision on the release or punishment of Anas Haqqani had to be taken by courts. He refrained from speaking more on the issue.

sns/mud

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