Former Taliban ambassador in Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef said Pakistan has ‘increased pressure’ on the Taliban to join the reconciliation process but the insurgents will not bow to this, Pakistan’s Daily Times reported.
“Pakistan has increased pressure on the Taliban but they will not accept what Pakistan wants them to do. Pakistan has detained some senior Taliban leaders at a time when efforts are underway in the region to encourage the Taliban to come to the negotiating table,” Zaeef told the Daily Times by the phone.
This comes just days after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met with President Ashraf Ghani and CEO Abdullah Abdullah where they mapped out the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), which is a joint plan for cooperation in key areas of counter-terrorism and for thereduction of violence and promotion of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
Abbasi welcomed Ghani’s recent peace offer to the Taliban and both leaders called on them to respond positively to the offer and to join the peace process.
“Taliban do not want any deal through any country, including Pakistan and Iran, but they want to solve the problems with the US without involvement of others,” Zaeef said.
The Daily Times reported Zaeef was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and handed over to the United States months after American military toppled the Taliban government.
The US held Zaeef at Guantanamo Bay for a few years but released him in 2005. He was put on the list of designated terrorists but his name was removed in2010.
Zaeef told the Daily Times the Taliban has not accepted the offer to join the political system as yet.
“So far, the Taliban consider the Kabul government an unconstitutional government. Secondly, the Taliban want to liberate Afghanistan from clutches of occupation forces. They want to introduce Islamic government in Afghanistan,” he said.
“I believe the Kabul government is not willing to understand objectives of the Taliban. Some Taliban leaders believe there is a conspiracy theory hidden behind recognition of the Taliban as a political power and, therefore, they do not accept this offer,” he said when asked about President Ghani’s offer to recognise them as a political party.
According to the Daily Times Zaeef said the Taliban would not accept the demands of any country unless the foreign forces leave Afghanistan. He said the United States was still engaged in creating problems for the Taliban and the people of Afghanistan and the region. He said that the regional situation had deteriorated after the US entered Afghanistan.
“Washington should avoid making it an issue of pride and refrain from bringing further instability to the region in general and Afghanistan in particular,” he said.