- Says Taliban want brotherly relations with Pakistan
- Wants India to remain impartial in Afghanistan
- Rejects idea of any group using Afghan soil against any country
Tehreek-e-Taliban Afghanistan spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has said that Pakistan is welcome to support the Afghan peace process, but the country “cannot dictate to us or impose its views on us".
“We want brotherly relations with Pakistan. As a Muslim country, we have many shared values,” he said during a programme aired on Geo News on Sunday.
“This is not in accordance with international principles either,” he emphasised.
Sharing his group’s vision regarding the demand for an Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, he said that “having an emirate is a legitimate right of the people of Afghanistan”.
“We say nothing about other governments. No one should impose their view on us,” he reiterated.
When asked if the Afghan Taliban accept the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or consider them opponents, he said that “we will not allow any group to use Afghanistan’s soil against anyone.”
Answering a question related to TTP emir's reported allegiance to Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Haibatullah Akhunzada, Shaheen said “I do not know of the TTP emir swearing allegiance [to our leader].”
Commenting on India’s reported outreach to the Afghan Taliban, he said that "there has been no meeting or contact.”
However, he noted that the Afghan Taliban "expect India to remain impartial and neutral in Afghanistan and should not oppose the struggle of the people of Afghanistan."
In a veiled criticism of India’s support for the Afghan government, he said that the current government is an “imposed government and doesn’t reflect the will of the people.”
Describing his group’s policy on the Afghan peace process, Shaheen said that "a negotiated settlement is our policy and there has been no change in this policy.”
"We are still holding talks and meetings in Doha on the same agenda that has been decided already."
Discussing the fall of new districts to the Taliban across the country, he said this is not the result of war, but distrust of the Afghan people on the current regime.
“They [people] are voluntarily joining our ranks. Not as a result of war," Shaheen emphasised.
When asked if the Afghan Taliban’s leadership is ready to accept democracy, Shaheen said, "We have an agenda for an Islamic Emirate. And so we put it on the table and so did they [put their agenda of] democracy. But we do not say that our agenda must be imposed."
"A negotiated form of government is acceptable but we have stressed that the system must be an Islamic system because our struggle for the last 20 years has been about this," he added.
The group has claimed to have taken control of 85% of the territory in Afghanistan.
The international concern is mounting as many fear a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the coming months after the complete withdrawal of the American troops.
Last week, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Babar Iftikhar said that Pakistan was a facilitator of the Afghan peace process and not a guarantor.
"What I can say right now is that the peace process is at a critical stage and everybody understands that," he said during an interview with ARY News, adding that Pakistan has tried to move the process forward with sincerity.