The Taliban says there will not be peace in Afghanistan until President Ashraf Ghani is removed and there is a new negotiated government in Kabul, The Associated Press reported Friday.
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said the insurgents would end their fighting when a negotiated government that agrees with all sides of the conflict is established in Kabul, and Ghani's government is removed.
“I want to make it clear that we do not believe in the monopoly of power because any governments who [sought] to monopolize power in Afghanistan in the past were not successful governments,” Shaheen told The Associated Press. “So we do not want to repeat that same formula.”
Shaheen dismissed Ghani's right to govern, calling him a warmonger and accusing him of using his speech on the Islamic holy day Eid-al-Adha to assure an offense against the Taliban. Shaheen also brought up allegations of widespread fraud regarding Ghani's win. Ghani has said that he will remain in office until new elections determine the next government, which his critics, including the Taliban, say is only a method for him to remain in power.
Last week, the executive officer of the country, Abdullah Abdullah, led a high-level group of representatives to talk with Taliban leaders, according to the AP. While Shaheen said those talks were good at first, the government’s repeated demands for a cease fire without the removal of Ghani were similar to a Taliban surrender.
“They don’t want reconciliation, but they want surrendering,” Shaheen said.
Before the Taliban can agree to a cease fire, there must be a new government “acceptable to us and to other Afghans,” he said. Only then will there be no war, according to Shaheen.
Shaheen said the new government would allow women to work, go to school, participate in politics and walk freely without a male relative. However, they will be required to wear a hijab or headscarf.
However, many reports from captured Taliban districts dispute this claim, as there are many harsh restrictions imposed on women, including setting fire to schools, according to the AP.
Shaheen said that the capture of those districts was done through negotiation, not fighting. He said that some Taliban commanders ignored the leadership's orders against repressive and drastic behavior.
“Those districts which have fallen to us and the military forces who have joined us ... were through mediation of the people, through talks,” he told the publication. “They [did not fall] through fighting. ... It would have been very hard for us to take 194 districts in just eight weeks.”
“You know, no one no one wants a civil war, including me,” he added.