Taliban Will Not Allow Afghan Territory To Be Used Against India
THE WEEK|May 09, 2021
Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef was one of the founding members of the Taliban. He was the Taliban’s ambassador to Pakistan when the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Mandira Nayar

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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