US in touch with Mullah Omar?

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 16:25

Islamabad: The US has established
contacts with Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar to
negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan, a media
report on Tuesday said.

Abdul Haqiq, a former Afghan Taliban spokesman who
used the alias Mohammad Hanif, played a key role in helping
Washington reach out to Mullah Omar; a leading newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Haqiq was arrested by US and Afghan intelligence
agents in Afghanistan in June 2007.

He was one of the high profile Afghan Taliban
spokesmen along with Yousuf Ahmadi, appointed after chief
spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi was arrested in October 2005 in
Pakistan.

Several claims have been made so far by the US about
negotiations with the Taliban but Islamabad and Kabul were
never taken into confidence over the talks, the report said.

The US reportedly offered the Taliban control over
southern Afghanistan, leaving the north for other political
forces under American influence.

However, this was rejected by the Taliban.

"The acceptance of such a proposal could not be
possible for the Taliban as it could lead to the
disintegration of Afghanistan," said former Inter-Services
Intelligence chief Hamid Gul.

The daily quoted a Pakistani diplomat in Kabul as
being optimistic about the talks.

"The Taliban are aware that it will be difficult to
defeat foreign troops in Afghanistan or capture the entire
country.

"Similarly, the US is also aware that it cannot defeat
the Taliban in the next few years," the unnamed diplomat said.

A senior official in Pakistan`s Foreign Office was not
as sure of the success of the US-Taliban talks.

"Such talks are bound to fail as Washington is trying
to achieve its goals without taking (Afghan President Hamid)
Karzai into confidence.

"If at all the Afghan Taliban agrees to the
reconciliation talks, their preference will be with Afghan
leaders over foreign forces," the official said.

Central Asian diplomats in Islamabad too expressed
doubts about the practicability of the US-Taliban talks.

"On the one hand, the US is building six permanent
military bases in Afghanistan, and on the other, talking about
the withdrawal of its troops from the country," an ambassador
of a Central Asian state was quoted by a Foreign Office
official as saying.

Afghan High Peace Council chief Burhanuddin Rabbani
told the Afghan House of Representatives earlier this month
that his organisation had made contacts with the Afghan
Taliban.

He told the house that the Taliban were not willing to
trust the Afghan government`s reconciliation process.

"The Taliban nurse doubts about Kabul`s initiative,"
he said.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 16:25

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