`US should abandon `dual-faced` Afghan policies`

The Taliban has said that peace talks cannot be held unless Washington abandons its "dual-faced policies" on Afghanistan.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2011, 14:49 PM IST

Islamabad: Close on the heels of the US
advocating dialogue with the Afghan Taliban, the terror outfit
has said that peace talks cannot be held unless Washington
abandons its "dual-faced policies" on Afghanistan.

"On the one hand, it (the US) talks about pursuing peace
dialogue but on the other it`s seeking to establish permanent
military bases in Afghanistan," Afghan Taliban spokesman
Zabiullah Mujahid told `The Express Tribune` on telephone from
Afghanistan.

"The US is seeking Pakistan`s help to negotiate with us,
but at the same time, it`s pressuring Islamabad to fight (the
Haqqani network in North Waziristan)... Unless the US shows
its commitment to peace talks, dialogue is not possible," he
said, asking Washington to abandon its "dual-faced policies"
on Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the
US House Committee on Foreign Relations that any Afghan-led
peace process would have to include the Quetta Shura, the
Afghan Taliban leadership based in the southwestern Pakistani
city, and its leader Mullah Omar.

During her recent trip to Pakistan, she urged Islamabad
to crack down on all Taliban factions, including the Haqqani
network, and also facilitate peace talks.

"There is no solution in the region without Pakistan and
no stable future without a partnership," Clinton told the
House Committee.

However, Zabiullah Mujahid referred to what he described
as contradictions in the US policy for Pakistan.
"The irony is that while the US acknowledges Pakistan`s
contributions (in the fight against militancy) it also
criticises it (for being hand in glove with the militants),"
he said.

Asked if the Taliban can show flexibility for the greater
good of war-ravaged Afghanistan, Mujahid said: "Ours is a just
struggle. We didn`t invade America. It`s the US which waged a
war in Afghanistan. We demand freedom... We`re not calling for
something illegal."

Earlier this week, the Hizb-e-Islami led by Gulbudin
Hekmatyar showed its willingness for peace talks with the US.

"We are willing to have a direct or indirect political
dialogue with Washington," said Ghairat Baheer, a
Hizb-e-Islami leader.

Mujahid said he could not comment on Baheer`s remarks
because the Hizb-e-Islami is a separate organisation.
The Haqqani network has turned down an "individual"
rapprochement offer from the US, saying it should engage the
Taliban Shura or council in dialogue because the Haqqanis are
part of the movement led by Mullah Omar.

The Afghan government plans to convene a `loya jirga` or
grand council next month before it can approve a strategic
partnership agreement between Afghanistan and the US.
The Afghan Taliban have warned there will be reprisals
against anyone who attend the loya jirga.

The militants have threatened "to target every security
guard, person with intention, participant and every caller" of
the jirga.

PTI