Afghan Taliban leader supports 'legitimate' peace talks

Mullah Omar hails peace talks with government but also urges to continue fighting until foreign troops leave Afghanistan

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Afghan Taliban's leader Mullah Omar supported "legitimate" peace talks with the government on Wednesday in an Eid message on the Taliban’s website.

In his first comments on the negotiation process, the reclusive militant leader said, "if we look into our religious regulations, we can find that meetings and even peaceful interactions with the enemies is not prohibited."  

But he also urged Muslim leaders to unite and continue fighting until all foreign troops leave Afghanistan, adding that the talks aims to, "bring an end to the occupation."

The message was published just before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan.

The Afghan government met with Taliban representatives last week in Pakistan's popular tourist resort of Murree near the country’s capital Islamabad for direct talks for the first time to end 13-years of war.

The talk was attended by two “senior” Pakistani officials, as well as representatives from China and the United States.

Pakistan's military reportedly played a role in brokering landmark peace talks with the involvement of the heads of the army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, Reuters reported.

Pressure from a key regional ally and investor of Pakistan, China, is also seen an important factor in Islamabad's intervention.

However, it is reported that Afghan Taliban leaders are divided on talks and questioned the legitimacy of the Taliban representatives.

In the statement, Mullah Omer, seemingly try to ease worries, said "All mujahidin and countrymen should be confident that in this process, I will unwaveringly defend our legal rights and viewpoint everywhere."

The Afghan government has negotiated with the Taliban in Qatar, China, Norway and Dubai in recent months to find a way to end the conflict which has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 40,000 civilians since 2001.

TRTWorld and agencies