The spokesperson for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan, Suhail Shaheen, has said that Pakistan is welcome to help the Taliban arrive at a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan but it “cannot dictate to us or impose its views on us”.
Shaheen’s remarks came during an interview with Geo News on the programme ‘Jirga’ aired late on Sunday night.
When asked how he views the Afghan Taliban’s relations with Pakistan to be, especially in the context of reports that the Taliban is not willing to listen to Pakistan, the spokesperson said, “We want brotherly relations. They are neighbours, a Muslim country, and we have shared values — historical, religious and cultural.”
“They can help us in the peace process but can’t dictate to us or impose their views on us. And this is against international principles,” he added.
Speaking of the Taliban’s demand for an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Shaheen said that having an emirate is “a legitimate right of the people of Afghanistan”.
“We say nothing about other governments. They should not impose their views,” he said, adding “This is not in accordance with international principles either.”
The report added that on whether the Taliban accepts the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or considers them as opponents after the TTP emir swore fealty to Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada, Shaheen said: “I do not know of the TTP emir swearing allegiance to our leader] but I will tell you the policy of the Islamic Emirate.
“We will not allow the use of Afghan soil, neither by an individual nor by any group. I have said this in many interviews and I think our position is clear and known to all.”
Shaheen was also asked to comment on the relations with India in the backdrop of reports of meetings between representatives wherever talks were held.
“There has been no meeting or contact. We expect India to remain impartial. This is our struggle, the struggle of the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
The spokesperson said that governments “come and go” and that the incumbent government “was imposed after occupation”.
The report said that Shaheen was asked if the Taliban see the use of force as necessary and the only way to rule Afghanistan.
“A negotiated settlement is our policy and there has been no change in this,” he said in response.
“We are still holding talks and meetings in Doha on the same agenda that has been decided already,” he added.
He said that there are “new developments” in a few provinces “because security forces do not have confidence in the Kabul administration”.
“They are voluntarily joining our ranks. Not as a result of war,” Shaheen said.