Kabul, July 15 (IANS) Elusive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar on Wednesday described the peace talks with the Afghan government as “legitimate” and announced his outfit’s readiness for talks.
In his congratulatory message ahead of Eid-ul Fitr, Omar said the Taliban’s political office had been authorized to negotiate with Afghans and foreigners, Xinhua reported.
“If we look into our religious regulations and history, we can find that meetings and peaceful interactions with the enemies of Islam is not prohibited but what is unlawful in meetings with enemies is overlooking Islamic principles,” Omar said in a statement posted on Taliban website.
“Therefore the objective behind our political endeavours as well as our contacts and interactions with Afghans and countries is to bring an end to the occupation of foreign forces and to establish an independent Islamic system in our country,” he added.
This is the first time over the past 14 years that the one-eyed Taliban leader, who escaped the US manhunt in the region, has expressed readiness for peace talks with Afghan government.
The comment came as the much-awaited peace talks since the collapse of Taliban regime in late 2001 were held in Pakistan’s Murree town this month and both sides agreed to hold a second round after Ramadan.
“It is our legitimate right to utilize all legal means and ways to achieve peace, because being an organized set-up, we are responsible before our people and we are an integral part of human society and rely upon one another in the country,” Omar said.
Omar has not been seen since the collapse of his regime in late 2001.
Meanwhile, a senior member of the Afghan government-backed peace body the High Peace Council (HPC) on Wednesday cautiously welcomed Omar’s statement and called upon Taliban to agree for ceasefire at its earliest.
“First of all they (Taliban) should make ceasefire and under a ceasefire, the peace talks should be held,” Mohammad Ismael Qasimyar told Xinhua.
Qasimyar, an advisor on international relations with the HPC, without commenting on Omar’s statement said that HPC welcomed any step bolstering peace process in the country.