In an exclusive interview with Dawn.com, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has said that if the Taliban do end up having a say in the Afghan polity one day, they will approach Pakistan “as a brother and a neighbour”, seeking “comprehensive ties based on mutual respect, just as we seek such relations with all other neighbours.”
He acknowledged that Pakistan had remained “the most important hub” for Afghan refugees during the Soviet invasion, and that it was even considered a “second home” by Afghans.
Speaking to Dawn.com, Mujahid also outlined the motivation for talks with the US, the conditions in which they are prepared to negotiate and their vision for a new political order, while insisting that the Taliban are holding talks with the United States “on their own initiative”.
Responding to a question regarding the timing of the talks, Mujahid explained that, even prior to the US invasion, the Taliban had asked Washington to engage in dialogue instead of war.
On a question regarding Pakistan’s role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, Mujahid said: “There is no role being played by any outside country. This has always been our own initiative and policy.”
The spokesperson said that while the Taliban do not have a codified manifesto, their “clear” objectives were the end of the occupation of Afghanistan, establishment of an Islamic government, establishment of peace and security, reconstruction of Afghanistan and the provision of administrative services.
Mujahid said that, “without a doubt,” the constitution of the incumbent Kabul administration “was drafted under the occupation of and interests of America”.
“No country would ever accept a constitution drafted and imposed upon them while they were being bombed,” he said.
“Our society is nearly 100 per cent Muslim: our constitution will be drafted for us and implemented in light of the teachings of [the] Shariah.”
As per the spokesman, when the Taliban create their ‘Islamic government’, they will make the “required” changes and “correct” those stipulations in the Afghan constitution “which are in violation of the Shariah”.
He said that once complete independence is attained by Afghanistan, scholars from within the society will be gathered and the “current errors” in the constitution would be highlighted and rectified.
“I cannot point out all the specifics because such work needs the analysis and research of qualified scholars. Following [their analysis] all errors will be made known.”
(The interview was conducted and published by Dawn)