Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/taliban-spokesman-on-rising-isis-threat-relations-with-us-china-iran/

Description:

In a recent extended interview with RT Arabic, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem commented on the adequacy of Taliban’s internal security measures following concerns of a rising ISIS threat; relations with neighboring states and the international community (including the US, China and Iran); the makeup of the new Afghani government; and the possibility of international recognition for the Taliban-led government in Kabul following a major conference in Moscow.

The third meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan took place in the Russian capital on October the 20th, 2021. It brought together representatives from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as well as a high-level Taliban delegation.

Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)

Date: October 21, 2021

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Transcript:

Host:

Let’s ask about the (current) reality (as you’re suggesting): with the withdrawal of foreign forces (from Afghanistan), (and) Taliban’s control and even the establishment of a government in Kabul, Dr Mohammad, there are warnings (being issued) – Russian information says there are 2,000 members of ISIS deployed in Afghanistan, and we’ve seen in the past days (suicide) bombings targeting mosques in several areas and unfortunately most of (these mosques) seem to have a specific sectarian identity. Perhaps the concerns of neighbouring states and world state stem from here; how will the Taliban, and you (as officials) in the government, deal with this threat that you do not deny is present in Afghanistan today?

Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office:

I wish I would get a chance to answer (your questions) –

Host:

– Yes please –

Naeem:

– You ask questions, and there must be a (chance to answer clearly) so as not to confuse the viewers and to (let them) understand what we’re saying and what’s being asked.

Well, if there’s a certain problem in a certain country taking place, does this mean that there are many problems? If it is so, (why don’t we look at what) happened a few days ago in a certain Arab country (Lebanon), where someone killed 6 or 7 (people); so, (can we say) that this country has turned into total chaos, or that it (is suffering from) many problems? Problems can happen anywhere, in any country, (even) in advanced states that might – (despite) having great (security) capacity, capabilities, expertise, and security experts – they (might) have everything (that allows them to secure a stable security situation), yet still (security issues) take place. If we want to judge (the Taliban’s security capabilities) based on reality, we must at least see what Afghanistan was like six months ago, how the situation was in Afghanistan a year ago, and how it has become today –

Host:

– Yes –

Naeem:

– This is (how) we must judge, based on reality, that’s what reason requires, and this is (how we make a) judgement based on logic; we (must) observe (the change that has been occurring) from six months till now, how the situation in Afghanistan was three months ago and how it has become now. This is well known to all!

Host:

Would you allow me, Dr Mohammad, to ask: perhaps we do not deny (the fact) of the ISIS presence in Afghanistan, (in light of this,) are you open to – and I wish to mention again, it’s a concern for neighbouring states and world state, are you open to cooperating with neighbouring states and other states to fight ISIS? Perhaps in the form of exchanging (intelligence) information? For example, the Russian side is talking about 2,000 (ISIS) fighters (present in Afghanistan), does this information intersect with the information you have?

Naeem:

Here I must go back to a point you referred (to) in the previous question, you said there is a problem (in Afghanistan). About two weeks ago, in a certain European country, a voice was raised in support of what you’re worrying about now (i.e. the ISIS threat emerging from Afghanistan). Why are all of (these states) silent now? We haven’t even heard a voice denouncing the (stance) of that advanced state (which was) supporting those (ISIS) members! Why? Who would answer this question? If we want to be realistic, we should look at the reality…Why would having a problem in a certain part of the country, (suicide) bombings or other problems, be an issue (of international concern), while the support of a certain state for these (suicide) bombings and those (ISIS members isn’t denounced) and nobody says a word (against it)? Why is that?

Host:

So, Dr Mohammad, what you’re saying is that the (threat posted to neighbouring states by the) presence of ISIS (in Afghanistan) is being exaggerated. Have you explained this issue during your meeting with the states participating in the Moscow Format (meeting)?

Naeem:

Is the (truth) hidden from anyone? (The truth) that media is exaggerating a problem, (because) it’s a directed media that receives orders (and publicises information accordingly), they tell them this (should be portrayed as) a serious issue, so they exaggerate (the situation). On the other side, a country supports those (ISIS terrorists) but nobody denounces it, neither you, nor any other media outlet (denounces it) or at least explores this issue. Why? You should at least hold a session to discuss such matters! –

Host:

– Can we ask in this regard –

Naeem:

–  That’s (regarding) the (first) point. As for the issue of (international) cooperation (to fight ISIS), we are capable of controlling the situation (ourselves) –

Host:

– Yes –

Naeem:

– and (capable) of controlling the problems in the country and eliminating those problems (ourselves). We don’t need the help of others in the security and military fields; we have proven this and the whole world has seen (our capabilities). We were fighting in Afghanistan on three fronts; one against the occupation (forces), another against the puppet administration created by the occupation, and the (third) against those (ISIS members). You know (very) well that those (ISIS) members had specifically chosen a certain geography (to deploy in, which is) in Nangarhar and Kunar in the eastern part of the country, and in Jawzjan and Faryab in the northern part of the country. But today, is it reasonable for anyone to come and tell us that this geography, no matter how small it is, is under the control of those (ISIS members which threaten our security)? That’s (not acceptable) at all! We’re capable of (controlling the situation ourselves) –

Host:

–  So, you’re giving assurances now (to neighbouring countries and the international community) –

Naeem:

– if we were able to defeat the occupation (forces) –

Host:

– Yes –

Naeem:

– and get the occupation (forces) out of our country, and defeat that (puppet) administration that enjoyed great capacities, capabilities, and expertise, why wouldn’t we be able to defeat these groups of extremists?

……….

Host:

Let’s ask in this regard; in Afghanistan, we’re speaking about a transitional stage, (about) a caretaker government – a transitional government, after the occupation of this country that lasted for 20 years. In the coming period – and this also raises concerns and demands for states all over the world, do you intend to hold elections or form a broader government that includes more segments (of Afghan society)? Perhaps all segments of Afghan society?

Naeem:

In terms of inclusiveness, the (current system) is a comprehensive system in which the various segments of people are represented, and this is clear to all, as there are (members representing) the Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Baloch and other ethnicities. Therefore, there is no problem in terms of (comprehensive representation of different ethnicities). However, if someone has a problem (with the current government’s composition because) they want to (include) some corrupt names or figures, whose (performance) was experienced over the past 20 years, and they wish to bring them (back) and include them in this system in order to corrupt it as they corrupted the previous one, this is out of the question. We do not allow anyone to interfere in our internal affairs, as we do not wish to interfere in the affairs of other (states), and fortunately, there were voices in the Moscow (Format) meeting today supporting this idea, that internal affairs are a matter that concerns each (specific) country and (its) people (alone) –

Host:

– So, you’ve seen this at the Moscow meeting by the participating states; the issue of respect for Afghan sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan?

Naeem:

Of course, there was support for this issue (i.e., respect for Afghan sovereignty), and it’s an indispensable matter…every state suffers from internal issues, however, it’s out of the question (for any state) to dictate to other (states) that their system should be according to its (own) opinion. That’s unrealistic and unacceptable; no state accepts the interference of any other state in its (internal) affairs, so why would any state (allow itself) to interfere in another state’s (internal) affairs?

Host:

Yes. How do you describe security coordination with neighbouring states? Are the lines of communication with the US still open?

Naeem:

We have relations with neighbouring and regional states, and the international community in general, and they have been good (relations) for a long time, not only today. As for the Americans, there were meetings (held) for two days in past weeks, (we) exchanged ideas and views and (we had) discussed (certain) topics, and there is ongoing communication (between us and the Americans). In the end, we want to resolve issues through dialogue and understanding. Fortunately, everyone is convinced with this idea (i.e., resolving issues through dialogue), even those who used the language of war have understood and realised (what) reality (requires) – they realised that problems cannot be solved through guns, tanks, and (military) aircrafts, but by sitting at the (negotiation) table and discussing matters and reaching the (realisation) that what is reached by understanding is the best (solution), and this is a positive step, and we support this perception.

Host:

Is there a possibility to have communication (on) security (matters), or even security coordination with the US side?

Naeem:

I have previously said, we do not need assistance in the military or security fields, we can eliminate problems ourselves –

Host:

– (I’m speaking in terms) of coordination Dr Mohammad, all states coordinate with each other, and as it’s known, Moscow coordinates with Washington in the exchange of information (for example, to inform each other) about a certain issue (or to) call attention (to the need for addressing a certain matter), such issues are in the context of normal relations between states, (so,) why doesn’t Kabul coordinate with Washington in the context of information exchange (between the two states)?

Naeem:

If a certain side or state coordinates with another state regarding security matters or information, this is a matter that depends on each state’s (preferred approach), however, as for us – I represent the side I speak for – we do not need (any external assistance). (Let’s speak about) our goal, we want to know what’s (our) goal (and work accordingly to achieve it), the goal is to not (allow) anyone to use Afghan territory against the security of any (other) state, and we pledged to (work towards) that and we’re committed to that pledge, as we are capable of eliminating problems if there were any, and if (we’re speaking about) some existing issues, (those) are minor problems that we can put an end to. Therefore, we do not feel the need (to coordinate with anyone) as we’re capable of resolving our internal issues ourselves.

Host:

How do you describe (Afghanistan’s) relation with Iran, Dr Mohammad, especially that it views the targeting of Shia minorities – (i.e.,) Shia mosques in Afghanistan – with suspicion, how do you describe (your) relations with Tehran?

Naeem:

Iran is a neighbouring state just like other neighbouring states, and we have relations (with Iran that have been existing) for years, (and they’re) good relations, and we wish for these relations to develop in light of – we have two basic fundamentals; the fundamental provisions of the Islamic Shariah, and the higher interests of our people and country. So our relations with all neighbouring and regional states and states worldwide are moving forward in light of these two basic fundamentals. Therefore, we don’t have any problem (with any state in terms of relations), and we have normal relations (with states worldwide) which are developing forward with time.

Host:

So, what about (Afghanistan’s relations with) Tajikistan?

Naeem:

We have no problems with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or –

Host:

– lately, there were tensions that led to a military build-up across the (common) borders (between Afghanistan and Tajikistan).

Naeem:

No (it’s not like that), (but) of course (it’s seen that way because) unfortunately, some media outlets spread negative thoughts in societies instead of performing their mission, which is to spread positive thoughts in societies and among individuals.

……..

Host:

Do you see China, Dr Mohammad, as the country that will play an economic role – the most important economic role in the coming period in Afghanistan?

Naeem:

China is also a neighbouring country of ours, and everyone knows well that China is a major state in the world that has influence on international issues, and is a member of the UN Security Council (as well). So, we deal with China as a neighbouring state, and as it’s known, China is a major economic state, and if it has investment (plans in Afghanistan), we’d support (China’s) contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, (and we also wish) to have improved economic relations (with China) in the future.

Host:

Briefly, Dr Mohammad, I’ll go back to the Moscow Format (meeting) – the Moscow platform, in your opinion and according to your readings, information, and position of responsibility, will this platform be the starting point of international recognition for the Afghan government?

Naeem:

You know there were meetings (held) previously in Doha as well, meetings with the US and European states, (in which) we met with about 15 states, (and those) meetings were positive to some extent. We also travelled to Turkey, Uzbekistan, and other countries (to hold international meetings). Therefore, the Moscow (Format) meeting was undoubtedly a positive step, a good one (too), and we consider it a step towards solving the problems (of Afghanistan) for the future – God willing –

Host:

Thank you very much, spokesman of the Taliban political office, Dr Mohammad Naeem.

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