- “We asked that the matter be resolved through dialogue, do not invade Afghanistan […] the result is before you now,” says Suhail Shaheen.
- Taliban spokesman says Al Qaeda at the time had not taken into confidence Afghanistan (on the attacks) and they were “caught off guard”.
- Our security forces, our intelligence forces will be more active: Shaheen.
The Taliban’s spokesman in Doha, Suhail Shaheen. has said that the Taliban had condemned the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago and told the US that “no Afghans were involved” in them.
Shaheen’s remarks came during an interview with Geo News on programme “Jirga”, aired on Saturday.
“I recall that we condemned the incident. [Abdul Salam] Zaeef was the ambassador (to Pakistan) and I was an an aide. We called a press conference and we condemned the incident. We said we will cooperate to unearth the real behind the scenes culprits,” he said.
“We asked that the matter be resolved through dialogue, do not invade Afghanistan. And the result of an invasion is before you now,” Shaheen said.
“It won’t be a good result for you, so it is better for you and for us also, having fought against an invasion (for so long) and many people being martyred, so we do not want this,” he recalled the Taliban saying to the US.
“But they did not listen to us and came to Afghanistan and occupied it through sophisticated weapons. At a time there were more than 150,000 soldiers here of theirs and of the alliances. But the result was what we had warned against 20 years ago,” the spokesman said.
He went on to state that “with the support of the people, we won back our freedom”.
To a question, Shaheen said that Al Qaeda at the time had not taken into confidence Afghanistan or Mullah Muhammad Omar over such a move, and that the Taliban, who were in power at the time, were “caught off-guard”.
He added that the Taliban have now, since taking control of Afghanistan, made a policy to never allow the use of Afghan soil against any other country.
Asked then, as to how the Taliban will now guarantee against the use of Afghan soil, if they had been caught unaware before, Shaheen said: “This is why we do not want any foreigners present in Afghanistan, because we run the risk that you yourself have highlighted.”
The Taliban spokesman added: “We have made a policy. We will also make a law. We will monitor. Our security forces, our intelligence forces will be more active.”
In response to a question over how many Al Qaeda operatives are currently present in Afghanistan, especially given that United Nations Security Council report places the figure in the hundreds, Shaheen said that “we know full well which countries supply the raw materials and information for such reports”.
“It is countries and circles against us that provide information — baseless claims — to them, on the basis of which they make their reports. And we have rejected these several times. The reports do not reflect the ground reality,” he said.
The Taliban spokesman said that the group had promised in Doha that they will not allow any such fund-raising centre, training centre or recruitment centre to function and asked countries to indicate where they may have found such places to exist.
“Whenever we investigate their claims, they turn out to be baseless.”