A year later, Pakistan handed over him to the US. He was sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he spent four and a half years in detention. Back now in Afghanistan, Zaeef is no longer a formal member of the Taliban, but he is actively associated with the group. In an exclusive interview with THE WEEK, Zaeef spoke about the importance of a political compromise to find a solution to the Afghan crisis. He said it was absolutely important for India and the Taliban to talk directly and resolve all outstanding issues. Excerpts:
Q/ Do you think the Taliban and the Afghanistan government will continue to fight?
A/ Eventually, the Taliban and the people know that fighting is not the solution. The end will only be through a political solution. The Taliban does not recognise the elected government of Afghanistan, which it thinks is a puppet government propped up by America, working for the benefit of the Americans. The government, meanwhile, does not recognise the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. That is the problem.
Q/ Do you think a compromise is possible?
A/ Yes. I think there is no other way. The people of Afghanistan are tired of the continued fighting, they can’t take the burden anymore. Also, all countries (in the neighbourhood) agree that a stable Afghanistan is necessary, and that war is not the solution.
Q/ You have talked about stability in the region. How do you see the role of Pakistan?
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