Remarks by several Taliban leaders in recent days and weeks show that the group views the revival of the Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan as their red line in peace talks with the government.
Among them, Mullah Fazel Mazlum, a member of the Taliban office in Qatar, has said the group will not accept a participatory system in Afghanistan.
In a video recording leaked to the media, Mullah Fazel appears to have said this during a trip to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and also during his meetings with Taliban military commanders.
“The restoration of the Islamic Emirate and the establishment of the Shari'a regime are our red lines in the talks with the Americans and the Kabul administration; we will not back down from our stance,” said Fazel in the video tape.
“The system will be Islamic and Shari'a, and we will have those who can join us, but if they think that the Islamic Emirate and the Taliban will become part of the current Kabul administration, it will never be possible, There is no word on that at all,” said Fazel in the recording.
“The success of the Islamic revolution (Taliban’s war) lies in the change in the system, if the system remains in its place--and we rely only on sitting down with them (Afghan govt)-- in that case, our situation will be worse than in the past,” said Maulavi Kabir, a senior member of the Taliban.
There is also a statement sent by Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah to his subordinates about the peace deal between the Taliban and the United States, which said:” Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate must make their ranks more orderly, active and powerful in order to achieve their great goal, which is the uprising of the Islamic regime after the end of the occupation, and the welfare of the people.”
Freelance journalist Sami Yousafzai, who has written about the Taliban leaders, said in a conversation with TOLOnews that the Taliban's intention is to create an Islamic state in Afghanistan means an Islamic emirate.
“The Taliban have something in their minds about the definition of an Islamic State - and they argue and fight for it - which is no different from the Islamic emirate,” said Sami Yousafzai.
Sultan Barakat, the founding director of the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies and a professor in politics and post-war recovery studies at the University of York, and Barnett R. Rubin, a political scientist and a leading expert on Afghanistan and South Asia, in a co-authored opinion piece highlight the continuing violence and political disputes in Afghanistan, and warn that delays in solving the political crisis between President Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, and the continued violence coinciding with the spread of COVID-19, will be catastrophic for the country and its future. Barakat and Rubin note that even if the US had not cut the $1 billion in aid, Afghanistan must prepare for decreased funding from the US and other donor states because of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It does not matter to the US who governs Afghanistan, but it is important to be effective and useful in the interests of the United States at a lower cost,” said Hadi Miran, political analyst.
Some analysts believe that Washington's treatment of the Afghan government and the Taliban in the pursuit of peace talks has also made the Taliban more powerful from a political perspective.
Earlier, a top US diplomat --who did not wish to be named--said that while the enemies of Afghanistan are watching, the fighting between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah is playing with fire.
But on Wednesday a 3-person Taliban delegation is in Kabul for face-to-face meetings with an Afghan government team to discuss the release off prisoners, following two video conferences between both sides as well as US representatives and others. Also, the government has established a negotiating team, which has been welcomed by Abdullah Abdullah, as well as other Afghan leaders, to begin intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban.