Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty has an interesting piece about an ongoing online spat in the blogosphere between Egyptian-based Al-Qaeda sympathisers and the Afghan Taliban. Apparently the Egyptians are accusing the Taliban of “straying from the path of global jihad” – accusations which have prompted sharp retorts from Taliban spokesmen.
The criticism expressed on pro-AQ blogs follows Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s recent declaration that, while committed to expelling foreign forces from Afghanistan, his movement wishes to maintain positive relations with the international community:
We want to have legitimate relations with all countries of the world… We are not a threat to anyone. America believes that the Taliban is a threat to the whole world. And with this propaganda, America wants to use all other countries to advance their own interests.
Such sentiments were more recently echoed by the Taliban’s former ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Salam Zaief, whose views are said to be in line with those of the Taliban leadership. Zaief stated:
The conflict in Afghanistan doesn’t mean [the Taliban] has to confront the world… Afghans are very tired of war. They want their homeland. They want peace in their country. They want independence. Whether they are Taliban or other Afghans, I don’t think either wants to confront the entire international community. The Taliban doesn’t want to rule the world.
In addition to these apparently conciliatory statements, which seemed designed to distance the Taliban from their more hardline AQ allies, pro-AQ bloggers were further angered in early March when the Taliban expressed solidarity with Shia Iran by condemning recent UN Security Council sanctions imposed on the country in response to its nuclear activities.
Such criticisms were dismissed by Zaief however, who argued that the “irresponsible comments” of foreign extremists indicated they were more motivated by their own self-interest than what was good for Afghans.
Read the full article here.