Published: Thu, February 07, 2019
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

On Visit to Russia, Taliban Says It Wants US Pullout in Months

On Visit to Russia, Taliban Says It Wants US Pullout in Months

The Taliban militants are in Moscow for talks with Afghan opposition politicians, including former President Hamid Karzai - discussions that the current Afghan government has said is not in the country's best interests.

The Taliban entered the second day of unprecedented talks with powerful Afghan politicians in Moscow on Wednesday, sidestepping the Kabul government.

"Today a lot of Afghans sit together, we believe InshaAllah (God willing) after the withdrawal of foreign forces, after the withdrawal of occupation forces, we can sit together and we can resolve all issues together".

Officials in Kabul have suggested the discussions in Russian Federation are an attempt by political rivals to undermine the Afghan government, and explore a potential deal with the Taliban without their input.

In a post on Twitter, Karzai said he would be bringing to the talks "a message of peace, unity, sovereignty, and progress for all of us".

According to Mohaqiq, the foreign forces have neither been invited to Afghanistan and nor the Afghan political leaders have the responsibility of their presence in Afghanistan, insisting that Taliban can not emphasize on foreign forces withdrawal only as the United States was closer to Taliban before the fall of their regime and were receiving media coverage during their offensives but their relation deteriorated after Osama bin Laden used Afghan soil to target the World Trade Center.

"It is conflicted. We want an Islamic constitution", he said, adding that the new charter would be drafted by Islamic scholars. Treatment of women under the group's reign, when they were denied the most basic of rights, drew worldwide scorn.

On an April withdrawal, he said: "It's our desire".

According to Afghan presidential hopeful Hanif Atmar, who will attend the forum, the upcoming event may become an important step and launch inclusive intra-Afghan talks.

Officials of Ghani's Government were excluded from all of those meetings because of the Taliban's objection to direct talks with an Administration it regards as a U.S. puppet.

At talks last month, the Taliban agreed with the USA on the withdrawal of "all foreign troops from Afghanistan" and "that the soil of Afghanistan would not be used against them", said Stanikzai.

United States and Taliban delegations met in Qatar in January and are due to meet again this month.

While the Taliban have been leaking apparent details of negotiations with the U.S., the State Department and White House have dismissed several claims made by the group regarding the recent talks.

"The people of Afghanistan want a country with sustainable peace, a united and democratic Afghanistan, a prosperous Afghanistan built by the educated women and men of it", he said.

Speaking to the Afghan envoys, some of whom are female, the Taliban promised to loosen some restrictions on women and not seek a monopoly on power.

Delegates of Afghan diasporas from the Commonwealth of Independent States and Europe as well as representatives of Iran and Pakistan may take part in the forum.

Though Russia considers the Taliban a terrorist organization, Stanikzai was optimistic that the talks would go a long way to change Moscow's mind.

The meeting in Moscow is separate from the US-Taliban peace talks.

President Ghani and his allies campaign for an "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" peace process, in which the government plays a central role by engaging directly with the Taliban. "Dissemination of western and non-Afghan and non-Islamic drama serials, paving way for immoral crimes, and encouraging women for violating Afghan customs are other instances that have been imposed on Afghan society under the name of women rights".

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