News - Afghanistan
The leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, called for his followers to shun the Afghan peace process in his message on the occasion of the Islamic holy days of Eid al-Adha.
Omar said in the message that until the foreign forces leave Afghanistan and the Taliban takeover the government, there will be no peace or prosperity in the country. He labelled all the peace and reconciliation efforts as nonsense and dismissed any kind of negotiation with the Karzai government calling it a "stooge" or puppet government.
However, the Afghan security officials responded that the fight against the Taliban-led insurgency will continue and described Mullah Omar's statement as propaganda.
"The Afghan forces are able to fight against the insurgents. Such statements are only propaganda," Afghan National Directorate of Security deputy spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiri told TOLOnews on Thursday.
Omar also called for an infiltration of the Afghan National Security Forces in order to target the foreign soldiers – a statement described by the Afghan Ministry of Interior as a sign of the Taliban's weakness.
"Mullah Omar is afraid of the strength of the Afghan security forces, that is why he saying these things," MOI spokesman Sediq Sediqi told TOLOnews, adding that Omar's hope of returning the Taliban to power is a dream.
Afghan experts also criticised Omar's statement saying that the Afghan people had not forgotten the misdeeds of the Taliban.
"The previous Taliban actions prove that the people do not want their return to power. It will be impossible for them to return back," political expert Mir Ahmad Joyenda told TOLOnews.
Such statements give some indication that the Taliban may not intend to negotiate for a political settlement but rather will try to return to power after the withdrawal of the Nato forces from the country, as fears of security deterioration escalate among the Afghan public.
However, the Afghan government has secured a number of strategic agreements with multiple international countries to ensure the country is not taken over by force once the Nato combat mission ends in 2014.
Omar's message comes on the same day that the one of the highest-ranking Islamic scholars Mufti-e-Azam Saudi Arabia called for unity and peace, saying that Islam was not associated with terrorism.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Sheikh emphasised in his Hajj address that suicide attacks are prohibited in Islam, adding that anyone who attempts or carries one out will not be forgiven by God.
He stressed that Islam was a religion of peace, prosperity and brotherhood, and that Muslims are obligated to do no harm to others on the basis of their caste, creed or religion.