Afghanistan Taliban peace talks with the Afghan government could be in the works after a leader of the terrorist organization released a message to supporters on Wednesday.
According to CNN, Secretive Taliban leader Mullah Omar
signaled support for meetings to discuss peace in his message that was distributed on the eve of Eid al-Fitr, a holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan.
Published on a Taliban website, the text suggests negotiations could be a “legitimate” way of ending foreign occupation, according to the BBC News
. The statement said political measures could achieve the “sacred goals” if done “concurrently with armed jihad” and under Islamic principles.
The Taliban leader announced his formation of a “Political Office” that was “entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring and conducting all political activities.”
The move is somewhat unprecedented since the Taliban has persisted in trying to speak with the United States, who they believe to be the main party in the conflict, in the past, the BBC reported.
The message comes a week after the Afghan government and Taliban leaders met face-to-face to talk for the first time.
The Afghan government described this meeting as “the start of the first-ever official peace talks,” according to CNN.
There was uncertainty, however, as to whether or not Mullah Omar approved of the talk. The statement appears to be his endorsement, The Associated Press reported
“The objective behind our political endeavors as well as contacts and interactions with countries of the world and our own Afghans is to bring an end to the occupation and to establish an independent Islamic system in our country,” the statement read.
As troops are pulled from Afghanistan, communication between the two sides has grown in importance while Taliban insurgency remains. Last month, an attack was made on the national parliament.
Omar also responded to an interview published by ISIS in its propaganda magazine Dabiq which argued that jihadi forces should support the Afghani ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
“We have . . . directed all our mujahideen to preserve their unity and forcefully prevent all those elements who attempt to create differences,” Mullah Omar wrote, warning ISIS to not create a new front in Afghanistan, the BBC reported.
Though the statement is a step forward in developing communication between the opposing sides in Afghanistan, BBC noted, the Taliban maintains it will keep fighting until the end of “occupation and the establishment of the Islamic system.”
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