Mullah Omar releases his ‘eid message
Just like last year, Mullah Omar, the sort-of Taliban leader, has released a message on the occasion of ‘eid, the Muslim religious festival. Lots of interesting things in what he says, so you ought to read the full text (available in pretty passable English translation here).
But before you get there make sure to read the Taliban statement denying any Saudi-sponsored negotiations.
Jason Burke broke the story for the Observer (UK) on Sunday, and since then almost anyone with a say in the matter has denied that anything is happening in terms of these negotiations: from Karzai (in a round about way) to the Taliban themselves…
So what’s in the new message from Mullah Omar? Well it contains much of the usual boilerplate, denouncements of the foreigners in the country, of the government and the ‘puppet’ Afghan government etc. But then:
A few years back no one would have conceived that US and its allies will face such resistance in Afghanistan, which will compel their president to beg other counties [sic] to provide economical, military equipment and soldiers assistance to combat the resistance.
But I think this is the newest thing that gets said in this statement:
If you show your intension of withdrawing your forces, we once again will show our principal [sic] by give you a safe way out, in order to show that we never harm any one.
Also a pretty strong statement relating to civilian casualties and other atrocities that ‘the Taliban’ have often been accused of and have carried out:
Every act which is not in harmony with the teachings of Islam or is not according to the Islamic civilization or does not look good with Muslim Ummah and your enemy convert operations disguised under your identity, like blasts in Masjids and where there are a gathering of the general people, looting of the properties on the highways, cutting noses and ears in the name of differences which Islam forbids and consider permissible and non-permissible or burning of Islamic books must be strongly countered.
I think – especially when you read the original Pashtu – it’s clear that the statement is as much (if not more) targeted at a western media audience than at ordinary Afghans. For a start I doubt the mass of Afghanistan’s rural population will ever know that this statement was made. And some of the references seem pretty ‘off’ in this statement, such as the ones to Palestine, Iraq and other countries.
I know people think they’re strong motivating factors for the things that happen outside in places like Afghanistan, but the reality is that – for Afghans – Palestine just isn’t such a strong issue.