“We are not afraid of peace in Afghanistan and that is why we are strongly determined to bring peace in any way possible, hopefully,” the Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told APW in an interview.
The APW team had sent similar interview questions to both the Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, and to the spokesman for the Afghan president, Sediq Sediqqi.
APW has published the exact answers through our website in English, Pashto and Dari.
Read the full interview of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid with Afghan Peace Watch, here:
Is peace probable in Afghanistan?
Answer: Yes! Peace is possible, if all parties are strongly determined, to achieve Islamic rule following the aspirations of the Afghan people and do not stand against the aspirations, beliefs, and values of the nation, peace is likely and even close.
What is your plan for Afghan peace? (Explain briefly)
Answer: At large, our plan for Afghans is to consider the country’s supreme interests and Islamic identity in inter-Afghan negotiations, to reach an agreement with each other. We have emphasized on this process in the text of the Doha Agreement. If we reach an agreement on a unified Islamic government and give peace a chance, various small issues will be resolved over time, the system will be strengthened, we will have independent security forces, the economy will grow and the graph of hatred and animosity will decline gradually.
Therefore, all afghan parties should be gathered, the inter-Afghan dialogue should be conducted in good faith, given the sacrifices and hardships of the brave Afghan people, and by obeying all the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam, hopefully.
Who threatens the peace process and why? What are their benefits in it?
Answer: So far it seems to us that some people in the Kabul administration do not want peace, because they have grown up in war alongside the invasion, they have created an economy, they have stayed in power if there is peace, freedom, independence, Islamic rule, in particular, they see their interests at stake, so their conflicting voices are already being heard on various excuses. Today marks almost 4 months of the Doha Agreement, however, the inter-Afghan talks have not been given a chance. It should have been started within ten days after the signing of the agreement, which in itself shows that the disruptive side is threatening the peace.
What do you desire for Afghans and Afghanistan?
Answer: Every nation has the right to live under its religious, national and cultural values. We say that this right should be recognized for the nation of Afghanistan as well. Nearly 100 percent of the population in the country are Muslims, so they should have an Islamic governance system. In our opinion, one of the main reasons for the conflict here in recent decades is that foreigners want to impose on our people what does not fit our religious and cultural contexts. Thus, we want freedom, Islamic sovereignty, and true and complete independence for Afghans and Afghanistan. So that the aspirations of the believing community are fulfilled, their honor is protected, the treasury is safe and the poor and needy nation gets its rights, the country is built and the whole nation is involved in its development.
How will Afghanistan look like after peace?
Answer: Of course, Afghanistan has changed in many ways. We think that if security is improved, invasion and war ends, every Afghan has a special sense of prosperity, then in a very short time, we will see a prosperous and developed Afghanistan, hopefully.
How do you see Afghanistan in a decade?
Answer: Inshallah, the next decade will be the years of prosperity and development of Afghanistan. The next decade will be the year in which Afghans will have a truly independent identity and good dignity, because all parties have good experience from the past. Afghanistan’s security is important to regional countries as well, so we hope that interventions will be prevented and that with good leadership, Afghanistan’s revenues, mines, and other economic resources will be revived and effectively utilized.
Do you support the presence of foreign military or civilians in Afghanistan after peace?
Answer: No, by no means and at no cost, we do not accept the presence of even one foreign military or non-diplomatic person.
If international forces withdraw, how likely is it that civil war will initiate?
Answer: The war has been going on for twenty years now, no new war will start. We are trying to eliminate the causes of the existing war. The agreement with the United States in Qatar and the end of the invasion is an important development in this regard. We anticipate that the war in Afghanistan will not last long after the end of the invasion.
What is your biggest hope for peace in Afghanistan?
Answer: Our greatest hope is an open-air inter-Afghan dialogue between Afghans that produces subsequent results and guarantees aspirations and interests of Afghans.
What is your biggest fear about peace in Afghanistan?
Answer: We are not afraid of peace in Afghanistan, that why we are strongly determined to bring peace in any way possible, hopefully.
Questions regarding Reduction in Violence
How many security incidents have you recorded since the agreement between the Taliban and the US? Do you have casualty figures?
Answer: After we signed the agreement with the United States, the percentage of wars dropped from 100 percent to 40 percent in areas that were almost entirely defensive, for instance, the enemy started to build new check-points, they started trying to infiltrate our areas, they were taking money from the people on the highways, the local police were oppressing the people in the villages, the enemy launched a big operation against us in all these areas forcing us to fight and stop them.
One of the cases was that the enemy changed the direction of their troops and killed their other soldiers and came towards us. Besides, in some areas, the enemy tried to supply the areas that are surrendered for years and we were forced to respond.
However, in general, we have kept the percentage of wars low, we have not announced spring operations this year, we have not carried out major operations in major cities, and we have not invaded districts and provinces.
Has any party violated the Qatar Agreement? (If so, please specify)
Answer: We have not violated the Qatar Agreement on our part. Of course, the Americans have violated some limited areas which to whom we have shared the issues with. The Kabul administration has also violated it, they have repeatedly taken action against civilians, they have bombed villages, fired rockets that have caused civilian casualties. (There are many cases.)
Why has the number of attacks blamed on ISIS increased since the US-Taliban agreement?
Answer: We believe that when we wiped out the physical presence of ISIS in the east of the country last year, many of ISIS’s evil elements joined the Kabul administration and were sheltered in intelligence guesthouses. Since the phenomenon of ISIS is a vicious phenomenon, they intensified their attacks in the cities, especially in Kabul. Our accurate information shows that the Kabul administration has also joined hands with ISIS, mutually trying to carry out some barbaric attacks, then blaming it on the Islamic State and invalidating the Doha Agreement. The recent attacks on civilians and the horrific killings were a joint operation of the Kabul administration’s intelligence and ISIS to make the situation even more warlike and out of control. We also have solid evidence regarding this.
Who is ISIS?
Answer: ISIS is one of the most important intelligence groups in Afghanistan, with no territory at the moment, however, they are still present in the Kabul administration’s intelligence guesthouses, and even transferred to some places in the Kabul administration’s security lines. For example, one week ago in the Wurduj district of Badakhshan province, we killed Mohammad Amin, a local army commander of Kabul administration and his bodyguard whose body was left with us. When we took other seized items with his body, ISIS flags and propaganda leaflets were with him. He wanted to create a threat in the region called ISIS and meanwhile, he was a commander of 108 soldiers assigned by the Kabul administration, who provided them with weapons, paid them salaries, and making them fight with us.
When is a permanent ceasefire possible?
Answer: When Afghans reach a comprehensive and good consensus among themselves in inter-Afghan negotiations, then there would be no need for war, and lasting peace would be possible, hopefully.
Do you think that the Partial Ceasefire mechanism will pave the way for a lasting ceasefire and a lasting peace?
Answer: The reduction in operations is primarily to pave the way for inter-Afghan negotiations and to show goodwill. Unfortunately, if there are obstacles in the way of negotiations, or destructive activities take place within the negotiations, the war may escalate again. Of course, we want to have full tolerance and patience on our part.