On the threshold of the intra-Afghan talks, which are expected to be held on Doha in the near future, the Taliban on Saturday issued a statement saying the group does not recognize the Afghan government as a legitimate system.
The statement was apparently issued in response to a recent statement by the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and one of his advisers on the peace process with the Taliban.
“The Islamic Emirate does not recognize the Kabul administration as a government but views it as western imported structure working for the continuation of American occupation,” the Taliban’s statement reads, in versions of English, Dari and Pashto.
“Two days earlier, an advisor to Kabul administration’s Arg stated that ‘intra-Afghan’ term ascribed to the negotiation process was incorrect and that talks were going to be held between the Kabul administration and Taliban along with other such remarks,” the statement said.
Also last week, the Taliban’s spokesman Suhail Shaheen in an interview with Iran's Hamshahri newspaper said that the group doesn’t recognize the government in Kabul as a legitimate government.
In the interview, Shaheen described the Taliban as the 'winner of the war,' stating that the group will attend the intra-Afghan talks only to bring an Islamic government in Afghanistan.
Shaheen said that the Taliban will talk with all Afghan factions not only the government and the High Council of National Reconciliation.
In response to the statement, the Presidential Palace has said that such statements by the Taliban are only to waste time and make irrelevant excuses.
Afghan government officials have said that the Taliban must accept the Afghan government as the main side of the talks.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Reza Bahrami, the former Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan, in a series of tweets, said that recent statements by the Taliban officials indicate that their views have not changed.
“The position of the Taliban's spokesmen as articulated in recent interviews with the ShemshadTV and Hamshahri paper reaffirms the fact that their ideology remains fundamentally unchanged; their perspective on governance is essentially the same and they are as intransigent as ever,” tweeted Bahrami.
“It cannot be accepted that the architects of the Doha agreement signed it without being fully informed of the Taliban's intentions. Perhaps one should search for a more realistic characterization than "mistake" for their act,” Bahrami said.
Shaheen has said that the Taliban’s violence reduced significantly in the country, but the Afghan government has insisted that violence has increased despite the Taliban’s continued assurances.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said on Thursday that at least 121 Afghan civilians were killed and 336 more were wounded in Taliban attacks in 29 provinces over the past two weeks.
The majority of the casualties occurred in Kandahar, Baghlan, Nangarhar and Logar provinces, according to the Ministry of Interior.