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Taliban to unveil governance framework in coming days

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The Taliban will soon announce the formation of a government headed by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, sources told The Media Line.

Baradar, until recently head of the Taliban’s diplomatic office in Doha, Qatar, returned to Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul on August 15. In February 2010, he was captured in Pakistan by a team of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and CIA agents, and in October 2018, he was released at the request of the United States.

The Taliban and other Afghan political leaders continue their discussions on forming a government.

Amir Muhammad Khan Muttaqi, a senior Taliban negotiator, confirmed to The Media Line that an important meeting of senior Taliban military and political leaders was held in Kandahar on Friday.

“Members of the Taliban Supreme Advisory Council (Majlis e-Shura), Doha-based political leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and Taliban military leader also attended the meeting,” he added.

“Our doors are open to anyone who wants to establish an Islamic state in Afghanistan,” Muttaqi continued. “We want a government in Afghanistan that can amend the state constitution to implement an Islamic system.

People carrying Taliban flags gather to greet a man (not shown) who has been released from prison in Afghanistan, upon his arrival at the Friendship Gate crossing point in the Pakistani-Afghan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, on August 16, 2021. (Credit: REUTERS)

Meanwhile, Doha-based former senior Taliban officials Mullah Shahabuddin Delawar, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mullah Abdul Salam Hanafi met with former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and former Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah on Saturday. in Kabul.

A high-level Taliban delegation also met with former Soviet-era prime minister and jihadist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on Friday and discussed forming an “inclusive government”.

“Hekmatyar has claimed that he supports the current Islamist organization and that he will oppose outlaws,” sources said.

And in a surprising gesture on Saturday night, Hashmat Ghani, politician, businessman and younger brother of ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, pledged allegiance to the Taliban in Kabul.

Hashmat Ghani met with Taliban commander Khalil al-Rahman Haqqani and pledged his full support, sources told The Media Line.

On Sunday, Hashmat Ghani said in a tweet: “Although we have to accept the Taliban, this should not be used as a reason for the West to abandon the Afghan people. Half of our population depends on the daily wage. Freezing their money when needed could be a disaster, not only in Afghanistan but for the region. “

Meanwhile, a delegation of Afghan political leaders, including Speaker of the National Assembly Mir Rahman Rahmani and senior officials of the former Northern Alliance, visited Pakistan last week.

They met Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Army Chief of Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, Pakistan’s chief spy and director general of inter-service intelligence services.

The delegation held a press conference in Islamabad on Friday and said that “Afghanistan has known a one-party [Taliban] government in 1996, which failed. To avoid such a situation, we are trying to form an inclusive government that will suit the multi-ethnic Afghan society.

Pakistan is likely to host a regional conference in an attempt to prevent further civil war in Afghanistan, sources in Islamabad said on Saturday.

China, Russia and Iran are said to be the main attendees at the conference, an official from Pakistan’s foreign ministry told The Media Line.

Muhammad Mohaqiq, leader of the Party of Islamic Unity of the People of Afghanistan (Hezb-e Wahdat Islami Mardum-e Afghanistan) and member of parliament, told The Media Line that “to end the war and create stability national in Afghanistan, the future government should not be formed unilaterally but rather on the basis of the will of the people and the participation of all ethnic and religious groups.

To this end, “negotiations with the Taliban and national politicians are an undeniable necessity,” Mohaqiq added.

Even as the Taliban declared victory, ousted Vice President Amrullah Saleh announced last week: “I am defending my country and the war is not over.

In a statement on Twitter, Saleh said that “in accordance with the constitution, in the absence of the president,” he is now the interim president of Afghanistan. “I am in contact with all the leaders to obtain their support and their consensus,” he added.

Saleh, now in the Panjshir Valley in north-central Afghanistan, 150 km north of Kabul, announced the formation of an anti-Taliban front, along with Ahmad Massoud, son of the late anti-guerrilla commander. -Soviet and anti-Taliban Ahmad Shah Massoud, and Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi.

The valley is home to over 100,000 people, including the largest concentration of Tajik ethnicity in Afghanistan, and the new organization is called the Panjshir Resistance, also known as the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan.

Ahmad Massoud has “declared war” on the Taliban.

His father, an ethnic Tajik known as the “Lion of Panjshir”, was murdered by a suicide bomber on September 9, 2001. Analysts believe he was killed at the instigation of Al-Qaida.

Ahmad Massoud, the son, said in a video that he had not left Afghanistan and was with his people in Panjshir. The valley is the only major center of resistance to the Taliban.

Sources confirmed that Saleh and Massoud took refuge in the Panjshir Valley, established contact with the main commanders of the former Northern Alliance, and persuaded them all to join hands against the Taliban.

In an editorial, Massoud claimed to have prepared fighters for an active struggle and called on the United States to provide arms and ammunition to his militia.

However, Haqqani, the Taliban’s military commander, said in Kabul on Saturday that “Ahmad Massoud pledged loyalty to the Taliban through a phone call.”

Ali Nazari, Massoud’s spokesperson, quickly dismissed Haqqani’s claim and told The Media Line from an undisclosed location that “these rumors are part of baseless propaganda.”

Simone Ledeen, former U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of Defense for the Middle East and former U.S. Treasury representative to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), told The Media Line: and effective the Panjshir resistance movement will be.

“In terms of overall effectiveness, any resistance movement will need to focus on fundraising and recruiting and will likely seek material and financial support from friendly countries,” she said.

“Expect to see a social media presence to counter the Taliban narrative. In recent days, reports of Taliban hunters journalists have circulated, ”Ledeen continued. “Many media organizations will no longer be able to operate freely in Afghanistan and may turn to citizen reporting on social media in the future.

“It will be important to note whether a NATO country supports an anti-Taliban resistance effort. I suspect that will happen, and “if the Arab states choose to play a bigger and more visible role in the fight against any terrorist organization,” they will also contribute, she said.

“Given the Taliban’s close relationship and overlap with al-Qaida and Iran, it would certainly make sense to see increasing influence and involvement from some of the Gulf countries in the future,” Ledeen said.

Ahmad Wali Massoud, Chairman of the Massoud Foundation and former Afghan Ambassador to the UK, also spoke to The Media Line. He is a younger brother of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud and an uncle of Ahmad Massoud mentioned above.

“We must forget the mistakes of the past and move forward,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud.

“There are obstacles in the way of peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he continued. “The Afghan issue has not only internal but external characteristics and peace cannot be achieved without a wide range of consensus.

“If the Taliban have changed, they should negotiate with their opponents with open hearts and minds,” he continued. “If they negotiate in the same spirit, we will tell them that for lasting peace and stability in the country, we can move forward,” Massoud added.

“It doesn’t matter who is behind our ongoing tragedy – Ghani’s proxy regime, [US diplomat Zalmay] The Khalilzad and Abdullah proxy peace plan or the Taliban proxy war – it doesn’t change the fact that Afghanistan is collapsing ”and we Afghans need to fix it, Massoud said.


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