Interview with Taliban spokesperson

The Saudi-owned international Arabic newspaper, Ash-Sharq al-Awsat yesterday carried a detailed interview with a Taliban spokesperson, Mullah Qari Yusuf Ahmadi (pictured above) which can be read in full here in English. As far as the current conflict goes and the recent call from US General Petraeus to hold talks with the Taliban, the most relevant part from the interview appeared to be this:

[Asharq Al-Awsat] What is your opinion on the statement made by General Petraeus, the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, that they are prepared to negotiate and that there is a strategy for reconciliation?

[Ahmadi] This is another US trick to change the character of the struggle between us. Our first and last demand is the expulsion of the occupation before discussing any other topic. Our goal is not negotiations; our goal is to expel the occupiers. Moreover, there is no reconciliation with the occupiers; there is armed struggle and relentless resistance until the occupiers withdraw their forces from our country. Negotiations under the shadow of occupation lead to continued occupation. When the Americans invaded our country they did not negotiate with anyone; therefore, they should not negotiate with us when they withdraw from Afghanistan. They want our surrender under the guise of negotiations; this is impossible to happen. Also, if they mean reconciliation between the Islamic Emirate and the ruling regime in Kabul, this is impossible as well because we are not fighting the occupation in order to reconcile with its lackeys. Either these lackeys surrender to the emirate and thus win the general amnesty proposed to those that collaborated with the occupiers or they withdraw with their masters on top of the same tanks that brought them. The fate of communist president Najibullah [he was hanged from a street lamppost in Kabul in 1996] still revives the memory from atop the lampposts in Kabul.

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