Elusive Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar on Wednesday hailed as “legitimate” the peace talks between his group and the government aimed at ending the 13-year war in Afghanistan, citing examples from history to prove that having talks with adversaries was not against tenant of Islam.
“If we look into our religious regulations, we can find that meetings and even peaceful interactions with the enemies is not prohibited,” he said in his message on the eve of Eid, without directly mentioning the July 7 talks in Pakistan. The Taliban leader issued his first Eid message since 2007 from undisclosed location where he is hiding following the ouster of the Taliban government in 2001 by US-led forces.
The Afghan government and the Taliban held their first official peace talks last week in Pakistan and have agreed to meet again after Ramzan to find a solution to end the war. The US and Chinese representatives were also present in the meeting where the participants exchanged views on ways and means to bring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
“Concurrently with armed jihad, political struggles and peaceful ways for achieving these sacred goals is part of legitimate Islamic principles,” Mullah Omar said. Citing examples from history to prove that having talks with adversaries was not against tenant of Islam, Omar said, “When our beloved Prophet was actively engaged in fighting the infidels, he simultaneously participated in agreements beneficial for Muslims. He held meetings with envoys of infidels, sent messages and delegations to them and on various occasions even held face-to-face talks with warring infidels.”
“The objective of our political struggle, contacts and interactions with countries of the world and our own Afghans is to bring an end to the occupation and to establish an independent Islamic system in our country,” he said. He also for the first time supported the setting up of political office in Qatar to help run their affairs. Omar rejected the impression that Taliban were controlled by any other country like Pakistan or Iran.
“Some circles accuse Mujahideen as being agents of Pakistan and Iran. It is totally unjust because neither our past history nor the present prevailing circumstances attest to this statement and the forthcoming history will also prove that accusations were false,” he said. He said Taliban wanted good ties with all neighbouring countries and had supporters everywhere in the world.
Omar’s message will also pacify those Taliban leaders and fighters who had not heard from their chief since 2007 while it was rumoured that Mullah Omar might have been dead.