Sohail Shaheen, a senior leader of the Afghan Taliban and head of the political office in Doha, has said that the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is not in Afghanistan but in Pakistan.
Speaking in the Arab News programme ‘Frankly Speaking’, Sohail Shaheen, in response to the question that Pakistan alleges that the Afghan government is not serious about stopping TTP, said that ‘TTP is not in Afghanistan, and We have already said that we will not allow anyone to use the land of Afghanistan.
“They are in the tribal areas of Pakistan, so within Pakistan (action against them) is their responsibility and not ours.”
Anchorperson Katie Jensen’s question on whether you recognise the Durand Line as an international border between you and Pakistan? A senior Afghan Taliban leader said that it is not the border but the Durand Line. So saying this alone is enough to determine his status.
Regarding relations with Pakistan’s security forces, he said that “we do not have security forces but relations with countries, and our policy is to live peacefully and have positive relations with neighbouring countries.”
This is our policy, and now it is up to them. You ask them what their policy is, and if that’s what they want, that’s fine. It is good for the region, the neighbouring countries, Afghanistan, and all of us.
We don’t want war, but we can defend our country
Regarding the border skirmishes with Iran in May this year. Afghan leader Sohail Shaheen said that we have an agreement with Iran 51 years ago. And according to agreement, Iran have to get 26 cubic metres of water, but they got more than that. Obtained because, at that time, there was a war situation in Afghanistan. I think this is a technical issue that can be resolve by technical teams and make a new agreement.
Also, there is climate change. The water level is no longer what it was 50 or 51 years ago. The situation is changing not only in Afghanistan but all over the world; the water level is decreasing. So according to the agreement and climate change, they can take their share of water. I think an Iranian delegation is talking to our people to resolve this issue according to the agreement.
War with Iran
He was asked that the situation on the border. Can he stand in front of Iran? Sohail Shaheen replied that ‘we are protecting our rights, we are not violating any kind.’
He said that we are not violating anyone’s rights, we are not attacking anyone. We want to live in peaceful coexistence with all our neighbours.
The senior Taliban leader said that our focus is currently on the reconstruction of Afghanistan and for that we want good relations with our neighbours. And if there is any problem, we want to solve it through negotiation. They want a peaceful solution and that is better for us and for them.
Sohail Shaheen was asked that if he have to go to war with Iran, do you have an army? The Taliban leader replied that we do not want war but we can defend our country. The last 20 years are proof that we know how to defend ourselves.
Welcome investment from all over the world, including the US
Anchorperson Katie Jensen asked that in the Doha agreement, the Afghan Taliban said that they would not allow their territory to be used for terrorism. Is this a commitment or just a verbal submission to the West? On this, the Taliban leader said that this is a commitment and they stand by it. Everyone knows that this is our official policy and we do not allow terrorism.
He said that those writing about terrorist training camps in Afghanistan sitting behind a desk thousands of miles away can show us where these camps are?
“It is not based on the ground reality. But that is talking against our government for political purposes.”
Sohail Shaheen said that if they talk about it, prove it and send their delegations to Afghanistan and bring evidence, otherwise it is a question on the credibility of a big organization like the United Nations.
Economically, we want normal relations with all the countries of the world. As we want to restore and rebuild the country, we will welcome investment.
The question was asked that there was a time that you was fighting the US and now you want cooperate with the US. So how do you explain it to your fighters?
Sohail Shaheen replied that there were two stages, in the first stage he had to fight to free his country from American domination. Now is the phase of recovery and reconstruction.
At this stage, investments and cooperation from all over the world, including the United States, are welcome.
In response to the question regarding the abolition of poppy cultivation, he said that in the last 20 years, western countries could not eradicate it even after spending billions of dollars, but we have completely banned it through a fatwa.
Not recognizing us is a political issue
Sohail Shaheen was asked how Afghanistan will progress under the Taliban regime. If 97 percent of Afghanistan’s population lives below the poverty line. Restrictions have on women and girls. There is a threat of terrorism. And international aid is stop.
He reply that the poverty we are facing is inherited from the government. That has been in power for the last 20 years. Foreign forces were present in Afghanistan. They say they spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan, but those dollars went into the pockets of some warlords. The common people have been living below the poverty line ever since.
Another thing is that when we took over, they imposed restrictions, and poverty increased. So more responsibility falls on those who imposed sanctions and supported the warlords who were their allies. They were not working for the common people. Unfortunately, there is poverty, but we are trying to deal with it.
Sohail Shaheen said that we are working on big projects like road construction with our own money.
In the Arab News programme ‘Frankly Speaking’, he was asked that the United Nations did not recognise the Taliban government. And Muslim countries also do not want to have relations with them, so should they at least include all the factions in Afghanistan in the government? will
The Taliban leader said that the non-recognition of the United Nations and other countries is a political issue as opposed to ground realities. We have borders. We have control over the entire country. We can defend our people, and we have their support. This is prove in the last 20 years.
Regarding the ban on girls’ education and not allow women to work. Sohail Shaheen said, “First of all, I will say that restrictions are impose on Taliban.” When universities and secondary schools was open and women was working. We were not recognised. Even now, there are 1.5 million women doctors and nurses working in the Ministry of Public Health, and no one mentions it.
More women are working in many ministries, like the thousands of women teachers working in the Ministry of Education. But these restrictions imposed on us from the beginning and are still in place. That’s why we say it is plan on political grounds.
Initially, they did not make this issue their basis, but now they are making it.” They were trivialising the problem from the beginning instead of working with the government and solving it.”
On the question of why girls and women are not going to school and university now. He said that ‘Medical schools are open. And as far as other schools are concerned, a committee is working for them that is working to provide girls with a school environment according to Islamic traditions.’
Prince Harry should be ashamed
Afghan leader Sohail Shaheen, in his autobiography of British Prince Harry, claimed that he had killed 25 Afghanis as a helicopter pilot and gunner in Afghanistan during 2012–13 and that he has no compunction or shame about it. ” He should be ashamed,” he was quoted as saying.
They claim to be Democrats; they pretend to be human rights leaders and champions, but in reality they do it. They killed innocent people, innocent villagers. Shame on them, and bring them to justice.