Former head of Taliban’s Qatar office, Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, on Wednesday night rejected reports of having said the Afghan army would be dissolved once US forces had withdrawn.
In a written message to TOLOnews, Stanikzai said “some parts of my interview with the Nunn Taki Asia wrongly rationalized”.
He said he did not mean the army would be dissolved but he “meant that this army was created when the foreigners came”.
“At that time, they mandated to fight the Taliban instead of defending the honor of the nation and the borders.
“Since the withdrawal of the foreign troops is concerned and the occupation comes to an end, then their mandate to fight that Taliban will also end.
“There won't be any need to fight the Taliban,” Stanikzai said.
But Stanikzai told the US that in the event of them withdrawing they were to leave all military hardware behind.
“You better know, we mentioned repeatedly that while withdrawing your troops, you've to leave all military equipments/tools as we're looking forward to have a well-equipped army in the future,” he stated.
He said in light of this there were no plans to dissolve the army and that his comments early this week had been “misinterpreted”.
In conclusion he said an inclusive Afghan system would include a reformed army.
Stanikzai’s reaction Wednesday night comes after a video interview was released last week where he discussed the Qatar peace talks between the US and the Taliban.
In the video, Stanikzai said once the US forces have withdrawn from Afghanistan, when the “US invasion ends”, there would be no need for an army in Afghanistan.
“With the foreign troops withdrawal, there would be no war and these troops would be, I think the US built this army and the US ends, they (the army) will end because their reason would be finished and then what would they be needed for?” Stanikzai said on camera last week.
His remarks sparked a sharp retort from many Afghans and on Sunday President Ashraf Ghani said any discussions about dissolving the army need to be avoided.
He said: “Those who are forcefully bringing others to negotiate must not talk about dissolving our “lions” (army); if they are so brave, then they must come and fight on the battlefield instead of carrying out suicide (attacks) and explosions.”
“Our security and defense forces are not one-day forces, one year and one decade and a generation, but forces that fight for hundreds of generations,” Ghani said.