Taliban wants formal office in Turkey: Report

Taliban leaders want to open a base in a neutral country such as an Arab Gulf state, Turkey or Japan before they embark on meaningful peace talks, a report claimed.

Taliban wants formal office in Turkey: Report

Taliban leaders want to open a base in a neutral country such as an Arab Gulf state, Turkey or Japan before they embark on meaningful peace talks, according to senior figures in the movement, a report claimed.

In an interview with UK's Daily Telegraph, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban's former ambassador to Pakistan, said meaningful talks were not possible until insurgent leaders had a safe base from which to negotiate.

"Taliban are condemned by the world. They have no address," he said from the Kabul safe house where he now lives.

"If I was a Taliban I would choose a country close to Afghanistan but neutral, like the United Arab Emirates, somewhere which is not interested in interfering in Afghanistan, like Pakistan or China."

A formal office, he added, would help the Taliban make the transition from fighters to politicians. Mullah Zaeef, once the international face of the Taliban, was arrested after the September 11 attacks on America and spent almost four years in Guantanamo Bay.

Ahmed Rashid, a noted Taliban expert, told the paper, he had recently conducted interviews with five former insurgent leaders, who each said the Taliban wanted to open an office in a neutral country – such as one of the Gulf states, Germany, Turkey or Japan – now that their strongholds of Kandahar and Helmand were being hit by teams of special forces.

Agencies

Last Mod: 24 Aralık 2010, 11:20
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