A key Taliban commander and close aide to former Taliban founder and leader Mullah Omar has asked the group’s present chief Mawlavi Haibatullah Akhundzada to break all ties with Pakistan. The top Taliban leader, Syed Mohammad Tayyab Agha, reportedly in a letter asked Akhundzada to cut ties with Pakistan, reports Khaama Press.
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“How can the Taliban leadership, now camped in Pakistan, demand that people in Afghanistan or elsewhere pledge allegiance to them?” he wrote, confirming that the insurgent movement’s leaders still operate from safe havens in Pakistan. “Can we consider such acts in accordance with Islam?”
Agha, who relinquished his position as head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar last year, has sharply questioned key Taliban ideological tenets.
In the letter, he also urges Akhundzada to give up the title of Amir al-Muminin or Leader of The Faithful and to drop the Taliban’s formal name, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
“It will be better to employ the term ‘movement’ instead of ‘emirate’,” he wrote, arguing that without either control over most of the country including Kabul or recognition as a legitimate government it is impossible for the Taliban to pose as Afghanistan’s legitimate government.
“A reliance on media propaganda and forming [shadow] government institutions, control of rural territories, and most of the movement’s leadership being in a foreign country [Pakistan] doesn’t amount to a [legitimate] government in our country,” he wrote.
“Instead of Amir al-Muminin, you should call yourself The Amir or leader.”
Questioning the Taliban’s current strategy, which mainly relies on overrunning rural territories and complex urban attacks that often result in a high number of civilian casualties, Agha urged Akhundzada, “You should give up using violence and intimidation to force people to pledge their allegiance to you as the commander of the faithful until you can meet all the requirements [outlined in Islamic Shari’a law].”
“All the mujahedin fighters should be ordered to cease killing our opponents inside mosques and stop killing prisoners. Stop killing people under suspicion traveling on roads. Stop bombing bridges, roads, and other similar places. Stop killing aid and construction workers who are helping our nation and building our homeland,” he wrote.
This comes as first contact after the breakdown of talks backed by Islamabad between Kabul and the Taliban in May. A three-member delegation from the Taliban’s Qatar office is currently in Pakistan to meet authorities over talks linked to the Afghan peace process.