The ‘new’ Taliban seems well-prepared in the PR and propaganda game. In an exclusive interview with India Today, the radical Islamist group has condemned the attacks at the Hamid Karzai International Airport and have stated that there is simply no excuse for any group to kill innocent people in the name of Islam.
In what sounds like a complete transformation, the radical organisation that had terrorised the region for decades stated that they denounce the ISKP’s suicide bombings at Kabul Airport. Speaking to India Today, Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid stated, “There is no excuse for any group to kill innocents in the name of Islam. The people of Afghanistan have a right to live peaceful life. We will work hard for that.”
169 Afghans and 13 US soldiers had died in the suicide bombings at Kabul airport on August 26.
Taliban blames USA for security lapse at Kabul Airport
Asserting that the suicide bombings should not have happened, Zabiullah stated that the Airport is under US control. He criticised the security lapse and stated that the chaotic situation there is a major security threat for Afghanistan.
He stated that the Taliban is very sensitive about security, but the Kabul Airport has created an exceptional situation because there is no crowd control. Saying that the area is under the control of the Americans and it was their responsibility to ensure order and security in the area, Zabiullah added that the Taliban is also conducting an investigation to ascertain all facts.
No collusion with JeM, says Taliban spokesperson
Zabiullah denied allegations that the Taliban leadership had met Jaish-e-Mohammad chief and wanted terrorist Masood Azhar. It was reported earlier that Azhar had met Taliban leaders to seek their help for terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, India. However, Mujahid stated that the reports are just rumours and the Taliban reject them.
“We can say with certainty that the Taliban does not allow any other country to be endangered from our country. We assure India and other countries that our side will not be a threat to them,” he added.
Good Taliban, bad Taliban
Ever since they took control of Afghanistan after a hasty US withdrawal, the Taliban had been trying to maintain an image conveying that they are the legitimate rulers of the country and not the brutal radical Islamist terrorists as portrayed so far. Though they have maintained the ‘Islamic’ part, asserting that they will operate under strict Sharia law, the radical organisation that had terrorised Afghanistan for years has been sending the message that they are willing to co-operate with other nations in the matter of bilateral trade and relations. They have also asserted multiple times that they will not be a security threat for other countries in the region.
However, the ‘new’ Taliban’s statements are in sharp contrast to their behaviour in the past and at present. There are already reports of journalists, artists and intellectuals being killed by the Taliban. With ISKP taking responsibility for the current bomb blasts, the Taliban seem to be desperately trying to appear as the ‘good guys’. However, it is not to be forgotten that it was the Taliban who had broken the prisons in Kabul and had set dozens of ISKP terrorists free when they took control of the city.
There are several reports highlighting how the Taliban, the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda and ISKP are interlinked through business, operations and leadership.