Taliban Deceived in Their War Against Afghanistan: Stanekzai

taliban-02-august-15

Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, the acting minister of defense said on Sunday that the Taliban has been deceived in their war against Afghanistan.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony of 400 ANA officers at Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC), Stanekzai asked the Taliban “how can they trust those who deceived them”.

Stanekzai did not however clarify this statement but it comes just days after confirmation was received that the group’s supreme leader Mullah Omar died two years ago.

He did however mention Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour’s appointment as the Taliban’s new leader – an appointment widely believed to have been made by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Stanekzai told those present on Sunday that he believes the Taliban insurgency is planned outside of the country.

“It is clear these [Taliban] had a role in the war and other persons wanted the war to continue,” Stanekzai said.

Meanwhile, in a voice recording sent to TOLOnews on Sunday, Mullah Abdul Manan, who claims to be Mullah Omar’s brother called on religious leaders to help resolve issues within the group.

He said: “Neither we have sworn allegiance to anybody, nor are we ready to pledge allegiance because of differences. And we call on all the religious leaders to help resolve the discordance instead of supporting or pledging allegiance to someone.”

Meanwhile, a number of analysts have said that the absence of Mullah Omar has destroyed the legitimacy of the Taliban’s war in the country.

“The absence of Mullah Omar has destroyed the legitimacy of the war in the battle fields and I don’t think that the Taliban have the same power and cohesion [than they used to],” military analyst Jawid Kohistani said.

Analysts say that on the back of reported discordance within the group over Mansour’s appointment, the National Unity Government (NUG) should use this as an opportunity to prevent the Taliban from uniting.

“Differences over the appointment of the Taliban leader are a good opportunity for the NUG to use this to get them [factions] interested in peace,” a member of the security commission of Parliament, Iqbal Safi said.

Some experts believe the death of Mullah Omar has left a wide gap between the Taliban and Taliban commanders – many of whom have rejected the appointment of Mansour as the new leader.

A number of U.S. Senators meanwhile believe Pakistan’s help is extremely important in solving the ongoing war in Afghanistan.

“We have made great investments in Afghanistan. From my point of view, a political way must be sought to resolve Afghanistan’s problems, and Pakistan must be part of that process,” a member of the U.S. Senate House, Nicki Song said.

Some analysts do however believe that the absence of Mullah Omar has opened the door for peace talks even further – especially as some sectors within Taliban are interested in joining the peace process.

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