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Taliban link Afghan peace to forming an ‘Islamic system’

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KABUL: The Taliban leader has said that only a ‘pure Islamic system’ can lead to success of the stalled peace negotiations with the Afghan government.

Taliban co-founder and deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar on Sunday said the group was committed to peace talks but stressed that only a ‘genuine Islamic system’ in Afghanistan could lead to an end to the conflict and ensure rights including those of women.

In a statement, Mullah Baradar said that the Taliban’s participation in the peace negotiations indicated their intention to resolve issues through mutual understanding. He said that only way to end conflict in Afghanistan was the establishment of Islamic system after departure of all foreign forces.

The harsh Taliban stance toward a political settlement to the Afghan conflict foments fears in Afghanistan and abroad about the kind of system that would emerge in the country after foreign troops pull out. It also comes as talks between the Afghan government and the militants have been deadlocked for months and violence has surged across the country since May when the US military began withdrawing.

Baradar assured that the rights of all Afghans including women would be accommodated in that system, according to religion of Islam and Afghan traditions. There are intense fears that the gains made over the past two decades on women’s rights would be rolled back if the militants returned to power.

Baradar called on Afghan youths to not leave the country, and also stressed that the Taliban would ensure that minorities, humanitarian organizations and diplomats had nothing to fear.

Taliban’s hard-lined stance on future Afghanistan rules coincides with successive territorial gains by the militants in the north. Almost 40 districts have fallen to the Taliban since May and the numbers keep rising. The recent losses forced President Ashraf Ghani to sack defence and interior ministers. He also warned the Taliban to choose between war and peace or face the consequences.

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