May 14, 2012

BRINGING THEM INTO GOVERNMENT JUST MAKES THEM EASIER TARGETS:

AP Exclusive: Moderate Taliban speaks of divisions (KATHY GANNON, 5/14/12, Associated Press)

In an exclusive and rare interview by a member of the so-called Quetta Shura, Motasim told The Associated Press Sunday that a majority of Taliban wants a peace settlement and that there are only "a few" hard-liners in the movement.

"There are two kinds of Taliban. The one type of Taliban who believes that the foreigners want to solve the problem but there is another group and they don't believe, and they are thinking that the foreigners only want to fight," he said by telephone. "I can tell you, though, that the majority of the Taliban and the Taliban leadership want a broad-based government for all Afghan people and an Islamic system like other Islamic countries."

But Motasim chastised the West, singling out the United States and Britain, for failing to bolster the moderates within the fundamentalist Islamic movement by refusing to recognize the Taliban as a political identity and backtracking on promises __ all of which he said strengthens the hard-liners and weakens moderates like himself.

He lamented Sunday's assassination in Kabul of Arsala Rahmani, a member of the Afghan government-appointed peace council who was active in trying to set up formal talks with insurgents. Rahmani served as deputy minister of higher education in the former Taliban regime but later reconciled with the current Afghan government.

"He was a nationalist. We respected him," Motasim said.

Posted by at May 14, 2012 5:53 AM
  

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