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International

Taliban Agree to Deny Space to Foreign Militants

Article by: Tahir Khan

Taliban cannot allow their allied foreign militants any space to operate from Afghanistan after making peace with the United States, a senior Taliban leader has announced.

The announcement by Maulvi Abdul Hakeem Sharee, a member of the Taliban’s powerful “Rehbari Shura” or leadership council, comes at a time when Taliban representatives and Afghan government negotiators have opened discussions on preparation of an agenda for intra-Afghan negotiations to decide the future political roadmap for Afghanistan.

An audio recording of the Pashto-language statement, delivered to a gathering of the Taliban officials, has been released by the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a WhatsApp group. It seems to spell out policy about key issues including the fate of the Taliban-linked foreign militants in Afghanistan.

This is the first time a senior Taliban cleric has publicly spoken about the future of the foreign militants in Afghanistan.

The Taliban have committed in their agreement with the United States signed this February not to allow al-Qaeda and other foreigners to operate against the US, its allies and any other country.

Policy statement by a senior Taliban cleric about the fate of the foreign militants, Taliban continuation of war against the Afghan forces and the Sharia perspective of the Taliban deal with the United States.

In the audio recording titled “Doha agreement’s status in Sharia”, Hakeem, who is also the Taliban chief justice, is heard explaining:

“We have committed [in the agreement] that we will not give [foreign militants] space. We have not promised to hand over any Muslim to them. But it is binding on us not to give them space”

He adds: “This agreement is based on expediency as its advantages outweigh its disadvantages.”

Hakeem’s comments have arrived as the Taliban and the Afghan government’s negotiation team are involved in what Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation has described as “serious discussions.”

The Taliban spokesman Dr. Mohammad Naeem told The Truth International this week that a joint committee of the Taliban and the Afghan government have opened discussions on the possible key items on the agenda of the negotiations.

The following are excerpts from Hakeem’s address to the Taliban leaders in which he has tried to convince them that the agreement with the US is completely in accordance with Sharia.

“One issue is about the foreign Mujahideen, which is mentioned in the agreement with the US. [The foreign militants] are Muslims and the other side (US) is non-believer. Muslims fight against the non-Muslims because of faith. Allah has stopped you that you cannot help these Muslims against the non-Muslims because of an agreement,” Hakeem said, while citing some verses from the Holy Quran and Hadiths and precedents about agreements between the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and non-Muslims.

“Now we have committed to the agreement on the basis of expediency and the expediency is that the US wants to end invasion but [on the condition] that your internal and external [militants] will not pose a threat to [the US and allies],” the Taliban says.

He said if the Taliban shelter only 10, 100, or 1000 foreigners in Afghanistan it will only benefit them but then the US will not quit Afghanistan and the war will continue.

“On the one hand, a foreigner Mujahid will feel comfortable if we give him space in Afghanistan but if you do not give him a place only an individual would face some difficulty. But if the invasion of Afghanistan prolongs then how much moral degradation will affect the people and even it can endanger the beliefs of the people, how many people would convert to Christianity and become Jews”, he said.

“No doubt foreign Muhajid is my Muslim brother and he has rights but [because of the agreement with the US] only few people will face problems that means harms to a minority [foreign militants in Afghanistan] but if the Americans stay and if the invasion prolongs its damages are more and for majority”, he said, and posed the question, “So who should be defended?”

Hakeem said that religious clerics within the Taliban had looked into all these issues and they had long discussions so there should be no suspicions in mind.

Talking about Mullah Omar’s decision not to expel Osama bin Laden despite the danger of the US war and invasion of Afghani- stan, he said the problem of Osama could not be resolved as the US was “arrogant” because Americans would demand the Taliban should hand over the al-Qaeda leader to them. He recalled that the Americans neither talked directly to the Taliban nor sat with the Taliban on the Osama issue.

“If they had sat with the Taliban and considered them as a power, the problem would have been resolved like the problem is resolved now through negotiations that paved the way for the signing of the agreement.

“The problem that time was of sovereignty and subjugation. The Americans would insist that the Taliban would accept whatever they want. The second issue was the handover of Osama. There is no surrender of a Muslim to non-Muslim.

“So the surrender of Osama was considered against the principles of Islamic sharia,” Hakeem said, adding the deal involved no commitment to hand over a Muslim to the US. “But the agreement is that we will not allow [foreign militants] space.”

NO CEASEFIRE AGAINST AFGHAN FORCES

Hakeem defended the Taliban policy of continuing to fight the Afghan forces despite the ceasefire with the US-NATO after the Doha agreement, maintaining Afghan government leaders had welcomed foreign invasion and also signed an agreement for the invaders’ stay in Afghanistan.

“When you (Afghan leaders) brought the Americans and insulted Muslims’ houses by the Americans. You signed a deal with them, insulted the honor of Afghanistan. You not only brought them to Afghanistan but signed a deal for invasion,” the Taliban leader said.

“The Taliban sat with them and struck a deal to end the invasion. You insulted the women at the hands of the Americans, killed children, elders and you said the Taliban system is brutal, you called chopping hands and punishment to adulterers as cruelty. This is infidelity to call the Islamic injunctions brutality. Our fighting is jihad”.

PEACE DEAL IS US SURRENDER TO THE TALIBAN

The Taliban leader says that the Doha agreement is not an agreement but a “surrender of the US.”

“What the Taliban have signed with the US, it is in fact not a peace agreement but it is a surrender by the US to the Taliban. Peace is one thing and surrender is another. This is surrender. The US accepted the power of the Taliban, they accepted the power as they sought safe passage. [They said] we will end the invasion but give us a safe passage”, says the statement.

“The US has asked the Taliban not to come to the US when they quit Afghanistan. [They said] you should not come nor allow your people to come to the US. It was a clear recognition of the strength of the Islamic Emirate.”

“The international media would have seen that the Americans bowed before the Taliban and surrendered. The US signed the agreement and recognized the Taliban as a power and sought peace for itself. So the deal is a reward in hand”.

PRISONERS’ RELEASE A MAJOR ACHIEVEMENT

Hakeem says the second achievement of the deal with the US was the release of 5,000 prisoners as per the Doha accord.

“All prisoners were our heroes. It was clearly stated that the Taliban will not sit in intra-Afghan negotiations unless 5,000 prisoners are released. So what have we lost in the agreement? Only two benefits have been given to the US. One, the US will be given a safe passage and no one will shoot at them. And two, no one will pose a threat to the Americans from Afghanistan – neither we nor [foreign militants].

“The Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) in all his agree- ments stated the two sides would not fight each other and that we will not cooperate with your enemy and you will not help our enemy. The same is mentioned in the peace deal [signed with the US in Qatar in February]”.

Who is Hakeem Sharee?

Abdul Hakeem Sharee, who has studied in Madrasa Haqqania, Akora Khattak, is one of the few most influential clerics within the Taliban ranks and even the Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and personalities like Jalaluddin Haqqani would frequently visit him, according to one of his classmates.

Hakeem has thousands of religious students in Afghanistan and Pakistan including senior Taliban leaders like Maulvi Abdul Kabeer, Anas Haqqani and Maulvi Mohammad Nabi Omari, all members of the Taliban negotiation team. He has served as head of the Taliban education and training unit. He was deputy minister at the Ministry of Justice during the Taliban rule (1996-2001) when Maulvi Nooruddin Turabi was heading the ministry. He currently owns a big madrassa in Afghanistan and his sons run this religious school.

He is a close confidant of Sirajuddin Haqqani, known as Khalifa among the Taliban. American officials call Sirajuddin as head of the Haqqani Network but the Taliban insist Haqqani Network does not exist and Sirajuddin the deputy chief of the Taliban.

The Taliban chief Sheikh Haibatullah had once appointed Hakeem as deputy chief justice of the Taliban but he had refused to accept apparently because of his several other assignments, according to a Taliban leader. He had also served as a police commander in Afghanistan’s eastern province Khost before the Taliban rules. He spent a 13-year jail term in Saudi Arabia after he went to the Kingdom when the US dislodged the Taliban government in late 2001.

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