was Ready to Recognize Taliban, says Ex Foreign Minister
S. Mudassir Ali Shah
September 6: Former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil
has disclosed that the Russians had offered to recognize the Taliban
regime if the then Kabul Government de-recognized Chechnya.
a book published shortly before the general elections in Afghanistan,
in which he is also a candidate, the ex-Minister goes on to disclose
an important Taliban-Russian contact in Turkmenistan's capital
city of Ashgabat.
the meeting, Russian delegates offered to accord recognition to
the Taliban government if the latter de-recognized Chechnya, he
reveals. Taliban spurned the proposition, nonetheless, as it was
probably the only country in the world to officially recognize
the Chechnya separatists.
his book titled Afghanistan and Taliban, Mutawakil also
directly attacks Osama ben Laden for making repeated promises
to Taliban leader Mulla Omar to invest his money in development
of Afghanistan. These promises were never fulfilled, he says.
his riveting book, Mutawakil has also ticked off the fugitive
Saudi multimillionaire for mouthing meaningless platitudes to
Mullah Omar regarding Afghan hospitality, courage and adherence
to Muslim brotherhood.
enemy number one, who paid little heed to a string of warnings
then hurled at Afghanistan, would often pledge to construct parks
and highways and revive agricultural farms devastated by decades
of war. But these vows, aimed at endearing Osama to the Taliban
chief, were never translated into action, writes the ex-minister.
post-bellum book chides the world's most wanted man - familiar
with the impoverished South Asian country's chilling fiscal realities
- for his inscrutable failure to devote even a fraction of his
immeasurable riches to the prosperity of a nation that offered
him refuge in the face of mounting global pressures.
Now in the run for a Wolesi Jirga
seat from Kandahar, the soft-spoken Pashtun, who can also speak
fluent Dari, Arabic and English, has published the paperback a
fortnight ahead of the landmark legislative elections. However,
he discounts as entirely coincidental the timing of the book,
which is an informative analysis of the challenges facing the
country - then and now.
on his scholarly effort, Mutawakil rejected the impression that
there were political motives behind the publication of the book
at this point in time. He has touched on the strengths and weaknesses
of the seven-year Taliban rule and the daunting tasks before the
incumbent administration led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai.
regarded as a straight-shooter in the Taliban leadership, Mutawakil's
views are in no way colored by party politics or his profound
respect for Mullah Omar. In the 98-page book, he makes no bones
about his aversion to the demolition of the rare Buddha statues
Already defaced, the statues did
not look like living beings, he reasons. Hence, knocking them
down was not necessary even from an Islamic point of view, he
maintains. "Clearly beyond the pale, the destruction - decreed
by the Vice and Virtue Department in compliance with a Supreme
Court fatwa - didn't take into consideration the political, cultural
or artistic sensitivities involved."
he does not conform to small-town, warped and blinkered ideas
of Taliban, Mutawakil is ambivalent on controversial topics like
cinema, television, female literacy, working women and photographs.
He writes Taliban temporized on these subjects in the absence
of a precise fatwa from religious scholars.
son of revered religious scholar Allama Abul Faiz Maulana Abdul
Ghafar, Mutawakil alleges Americans always tried to bully the
ousted government into handing over Osama bin Laden. "They
tended to boss us around without listening to our proposals for
sorting out the problem."
With regard to the much-maligned
Vice and Virtue Department's performance, the 36-year-old admits:
"In a bid to prevent evils, the department with an extremely
vulnerable teaching branch often ran into bust-ups with people.
In some instances, its incompetent and clueless staff didn't balk
even at humiliating citizens on trifling matters."
to the ban on women education, he observes: "Dealing with
the other half had been a big teaser for Taliban, who closed down
girls' schools in Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar and Balkh , dealing
a blow to a female literacy in the process...the introduction
of hijab (veil) or segregation of boys and girls would
have been a better option."
by the Maiwand Publishing House, the paperback, yet to hit the
news stands, is a hugely insightful read for those interested
in knowing Afghanistan's tattered economy and administrative problems
under the Taliban regime.
book also carries Mutawakil's letter urging President Karzai to
show magnanimity to his political foes in the supreme national
interest. "The spirit of accommodation and tolerance holds
the key to resolving political disputes in an amicable way,"
sheds ample light on important things like the genesis of the
Taliban movement, its links to jihadi outfits, support from Pakistan,
the designs of American oil giant UNICOL, its partnership with
the Bridas company of Argentina, Dr Najibullah's execution, income
sources of the dislodged regime, the Indian plane hijack episode,
Iran's threats to invade Afghanistan, the US missile attack and
Part of this story on Taliban-Pakistan relations, as described
by Mutawakil, will be published soon