Islamabad: The commander of NATO troops in Afghanistan has swiftly denounced an Eid statement issued by the Taliban’s reclusive leader Mullah Omar claiming victories against the military alliance.
The rare statement by the militant group’s one-eyed leader claims victories on the battlefield against NATO and defends as tactical the Taliban's initial contacts, now suspended, with the United States.
General John Allen, however, slammed the statement as ‘an unmistakable message of death, hate and hopelessness for the Afghan people’ on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Express Tribune reports.
According to the paper, calling Omar a ‘deranged man’ using ‘insane language’, Allen scoffed at his call on Taliban militants to avoid killing civilians, pointing to the deaths of dozens of civilians in a series of recent suicide and bomb attacks.
“Either Omar is lying, or his henchmen are not listening to him, but it is clear that innocent Afghan civilians are paying the price for his corrupt leadership,” the paper quoted Allen, as saying.
Omar, in his seven-page statement, said that initial talks with the US “had not meant submission or abandoning our goals”.
Instead they had been aimed at initiating an exchange of prisoners, opening a political office and to “reach our goals”, he said, noting that the Taliban had suspended the talks earlier this year.
He called the “so-called transition”, under which NATO is handing responsibility for the war to Afghan officials ahead of the exit of foreign troops by the end of 2014, a sign of defeat.
First Published: Saturday, August 18, 2012, 19:46