Disappear in the dust: Afghan-Kabul peace talks in limbo again
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2015-09-15 16:30:12

Disappear in the dust: Afghan-Kabul peace talks in limbo again

 

Kabul

 

The new leader of the Afghan Taliban last month issued his first audio statement, calling for unity and promising to continue the insurgency.In the 33-minute message released on Saturday, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor vowed to follow Mullah Omar’s footsteps, casting more doubt on the future of the peace negotiations with the government. “We should not concentrate on peace talks or anything related to that. We should focus on implementing the Islamic system,” he said. “Mullah Omar has passed away but our religion still exists among us. The blood of our ‘Mujahideens’ should not go to waste,” he said, referring to the Taliban fighters. “We should fight united until we win.”The Taliban elected Mansoor as its new leader after the group confirmed the death of his predecessor Mullah Omar, an elusive figure who was rarely seen in public. There are plenty of rival factions within the Taliban ranks that do not want to see Mullah Mansour as their supreme leader; they would prefer to see Mullah Omer’s brother and son ascend the Taliban throne. This is because they have not made peace with the fact that they were kept in the dark regarding Mullah Omer’s death for two years. One is not sure, however, if Omer’s heir and sibling have stood up for this position themselves or are being projected as potential leaders by the backing of Mullah Omer’s most loyal militants. What remains is the fact that Mullah Mansour commands resources and loyalty in a way his opponents do not. This is why it is likely his appeal to the Taliban leaders in the Middle East will gain some traction, maybe not immediately but possibly in the near future. So far, the Afghan Taliban fighters, no matter which faction they belong to, have avoided open warfare amongst themselves. However, that does not mean that Afghanistan and its civilians can breathe easy. Such a rift in Taliban cadres means stepped up violence with every group trying to assert its dominance. This will have a devastating effect on not just Afghanistan but Pakistan as well, considering that prolonged instability in our neighbouring country will guarantee safe havens for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), allowing the militants to launch their brutal attacks here. The continued friction between the different factions of the Afghan Taliban also ensures that the peace talks facilitated by Pakistan in July this year — an arrangement that came together with the dedicated efforts of all stakeholders involved — will most likely stall because there is indecision on who will speak for the Taliban as their leader. Until the dust settles there will be no future for the peace negotiations and no chance of stability for our Afghan neighbour.

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

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