Though the statement is a step forward in developing communication between the opposing sides in Afghanistan, BBC noted, the Taliban maintains it will keep fighting until the end of “occupation and the establishment of the Islamic system”. The Taliban’s former minister for public health, Mullah Muhammad Abbas Akhund, and minister for agriculture, Mullah Abdul Latif Mansur, who attended the Murree meeting, are both graduates of Pakistan’s Haqqaniah seminary.
An Afghan government delegation and various elements of the Afghan Taliban finally met this past week in Murree, a few miles from where once Pakistan’s oldest brewery stood.
The heads of the army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency were personally involved in bringing about talks between the Afghan Taliban and Kabul government on July 8 near Islamabad, said two senior officials close to the process.
“Just like towards the people of Pakistan and Iran, we have been the well-wishers of all masses of all neighboring, regional and world countries and we are determined to pursue this wise policy”, he said.
Though the message was released on the official Taliban website, a few Afghans were suspicious about its authenticity.
In comments that appeared aimed at addressing concerns over the group’s stance on women’s and minorities’ rights, he also said, “we formally recognize the legitimate rights of all Afghans including minorities as our religious duty”. However his statements about the peace talks puts and end to this speculation.
In the Eid statement, Mullah Omar reiterated that the Qatar office was responsible for political affairs and called for unity within the movement.
The talks have deeply divided the leadership of the Afghan Taliban.
He said Kuchi was the Taliban’s “shadow governor” for Laghman.
A few Western diplomats, long sceptical about Pakistani promises, say Islamabad now seems serious about promoting Afghan stability.
The Taliban warned ISIL last month against expanding in the region, but this has not stopped a few fighters, inspired by the group’s success, defecting to ISIL and swearing allegiance to its chief Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi instead of the invisible Mullah Omar. Likewise, government troops have continued offensives of their own, backed by foreign advisers and air power.
He also asked all “jihadi fronts” in Afghanistan to unite and pledge to continue “the holy war” until all foreign troops are gone from the country. The current coalition mission is supposed to terminate at the end of next year. “But it has happened now and the second round of talks will be held within a couple weeks”, Ghani said during a visit to Khost where he offered condolences to the families of those killed in a recent suicide vehicle bombing. “He led several operations and coordinated suicide attacks which caused death of at least one hundred civilians and military personnel in the area”, said NDS spokesman Haseeb Sediqqi. That it was the first official such face off between the two parties was perhaps its most noteworthy takeaway point while the presence of the Chinese and U.S. observers was the most crucial one.