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By Safa Haeri
Posted Thursday, July 1, 2004

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The real aim of the negotiations between the Americans and British with the dreaded Taleban is to keep Afghanistan firmly under the tutelage of Pakistan and shutting it to influence of other regional players such as Iran, Russia, China or India


PARIS First of July (IPS) American and Afghan officials are in “constant contact and negotiations” with senior Taleban leaders, including some ministers of the ousted fundamentalist islamist regime, according to Mr. Latif Pedram, the spokesman and co-founder of Afghanistan National Congress.

“The talks, mostly conducted at the presidential palace, sometimes with the presence of President-Prime Minister Hamed Karzai, are aimed at legitimising the so-called good Talebans”, he told journalists during a press conference in Paris.

Although some journalists that had been in Kabol until recently confirmed Mr. Pedram’s declarations, but observers said this is the first time that the holding of such unlikely talks is reported by a prominent Afghan personality.

A well-known literati, poet, journalist and politician, Mr. Pedram, who returned to Afghanistan last year after years of exile in France, is a candidate to the Afghan presidency in the coming elections, both presidential and legislative.

“The real aim of the negotiations between the Americans and British with the dreaded Taleban is to keep Afghanistan firmly under the tutelage of Pakistan and shutting it to influence of other regional players such as Iran, Russia, China or India”, he asserted.

Pushed by Iran Press Service to be more precise, he named several former Taleban ministers like Mollah Mohammad Ghaus, the Health minister, Mollah Mohammad Amir Khan Mottaqi, the Culture and Information Minister, Mollah Maulawi Vakil Ahmad Motewakkel, the Foreign Affairs minister and Mollah Mohammad Khaksar, the Intelligence minister “and many others”.

“It happened that I myself was present at a lunch at which Khaksar was also one of the guests”, he said, adding, “but the host had not introduced us under our real names”.

Zalmay Khalilzad

“They come and go freely, escorted by their own guards, using government cars. They regularly meet with Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, President George W. Bush’s personal envoy to Afghanistan and President Karzai, who, recently, reiterated that except a few, most of the Taleban are good nationalist people”, he continued.

“The Americans who helped creating the Taleban from Pakistan, their best ally in the region wants them back to strengthen the position of Hamed Karzai and they want the elections before their elections, in order to allow President Bush with a major electoral card, explaining to the Americans that they have restored democracy in Afghanistan”, Mr. Pedram added.

“The United States is after a government in Afghanistan that is totally to their liking. Such a regime can not exist without Pakistan and their Taleban protégés”, he pointed out, adding that the Afghan official media have “eliminated” the juxtaposition of al-Qa’eda with the Taleban. “Mollah (Mohammad) Omar is bad, other Taleban are good. This is the official ine”, he said, referring to the leader of the Taleban regime.

Criticising the records of Mr. Karzai, he observed that the present American-installed Prime Minister has “failed” even in the application of the Bonn Agreements.

“The (provisory) Constitution, with all its contradictions, like basing the system on the Shari’a in the one hand and the respect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the other – two conflicting concepts – is also in contradiction with the electoral laws introduced by Mr. Karzai”, he said.

“There is almost no achievement except for the ousting of the Taleban, something that we have it from the Americans and some minor projects. But as far as major goals, like establishing national unity, disarming jihadi groups and senior commanders, fight against opium and bringing real democracy, Karzai’s projects have failed all along”.

Hinting to massive manipulation of the elections and “unacceptable” electoral laws, “with our borders open with Pakistan from where many people can cross and vote and the women almost threatened by fundamentalists to vote and the people’s general reluctance”, Mr. Pedram said however, “knowing well that the elections would not be free, yet we have no choice but to accept things as they are, for, if elections are delayed, no one knows what would happen next”.

He also accused Mr. Karzai of “chauvinism”, saying that he had made a law banning some dari-faris words from the national vocabulary. “The result is that even the Pashtun, a ethnic group to which belong Mr. Karzai are now angry with him, fearing the backlash from other ethnics against them”.

The Islamic Republic lost the game to Pakistan because they centred their focus on the Shi’a religion instead of playing the historical cultural bounds


As for the Afghanistan National Congress program, Mr. Pedram said it supports secularism, a federal system and equality of rights for all Afghans without any discrimination of sex, religion or ethnicity, Afghanistan’s neutrality in the regional and international military pacts, free education, a centralised economy, annulment of death penalty, closing of all the prisons controlled by the Americans, opposition to having Afghans in Guantanamo prison centre “even the Taleban and above all the definition of the Durant border line”.

In his view, the continuation of American military presence and the unilateral decision-making by Washington “without passing by international organisations like the United States” has reinforced the public opinion thinking that they are under occupation.

“Mistakes made by the Americans in Afghanistan resulted in the diminution of international financial assistance and presence”, he said, calling on the European Union to play a more active role, helping democratic forces to emerge”.

Asked about Iran-Pakistan rivalries for domination over Afghanistan, Mr. Pedram said the Islamic Republic lost the game to Pakistan “because they centred their focus on the Shi’a religion instead of playing the historical cultural bounds”.

“In its hard battle against Pakistan in Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic was badly defeated, first because of its own major mistakes and also because of its antagonism with the United States”, Mr. Pedram observed. ENDS AFGHAN ELECTIONS 1704


Latif Pedram, poet, writer, journalist and politician, candidate to next Afghanistan presidential elections


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