The Afghan Taliban say they have nothing to do with this ‘fake’ picture which shows an armed man supposedly in Syria entering a camp titled ‘Emirate Taliban Islamia.’
By Salman Siddiqui/Doha
The Afghan Taliban have not sent any of its fighters to Syria or anywhere else in the world to fight a war that has nothing to do with the Afghan people or Afghanistan, a Taliban source has said.
“Taliban only fight in Afghanistan against (the United States and ISAF) invaders, not anywhere else,” the senior Taliban official source told Gulf Times in an effort to clarify the official line of his militant organisation.
Recently, many reports were circulated on the Internet and social media platforms such as Twitter that claimed that Taliban fighters were participating in the war in Syria and had also established a base camp there. In one widely circulated picture, the back of a long-haired Taliban fighter with an AK-47 is shown entering a room of one such alleged camp; a sign on the nearby wall displays an Arabic poster, which says ‘Emirate Taliban Islamia.’
The Afghan Taliban officially refer to themselves as the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,’ a title that was also used on the plaque outside their Doha office in 2013, which had to be removed unceremoniously later, when the Afghan government led by President Karzai raised objections to it.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the senior Afghan Taliban source said that all such pictures showing their fighters in Afghanistan were ‘fake,’ which he alleged were being spread to ‘malign’ their Afghan-based militant
When asked whether it was possible that some of their Taliban fighters could have gone to conflict zones such as Syria or Iraq without the knowledge of their leadership, he said that he ‘did not know’ about any such individuals, but could only vouch for the fact that all their fighters took orders from their leadership led by their chief Mullah Omar and adhere their official policy strictly.
“It is the official policy of the Afghan Taliban that we don’t send any of our fighters anywhere else, but Afghanistan,” he said.
About the spread of such pictures online, which sometimes also show the pictures of some ‘foreign martyrs in Syria’ whose profile point out previous stints in Afghanistan, the senior Taliban source said that he suspected the ‘hand of a network’ behind all such ‘propaganda’.
“It seems that the aim behind all of this is to harm our movement, which can’t be done unless there is support from a strong and foreign network,” he added.
The Afghan Taliban reiterated that their main focus has always been to rid Afghanistan of all ‘foreign occupiers,’ including the US forces. They say that war in Afghanistan was still on going and the Taliban would need its own fighters until every inch of their country was ‘free’ from every last foreign solider on their land.
Moreover, the Afghan Taliban are very careful about commenting officially about the very powerful terror group in the Middle East, the Islamic State group, where most foreign fighters are now said to be joining in droves, exactly the same way they once used to join the ‘Mujahideen’ in the 80s in the fight against Soviets in Afghanistan.
Among many other things, the situation with regards to IS is quite complicated for the Taliban to comment, especially since their own supreme leader Mullah Omar is referred to as Amirul Momineen [‘Commander of the Faithful’] by their followers, while the IS group’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has already declared himself as the ‘caliph’ and ‘imam of Muslims around the world.’