Taleban turn against Mutawakil
The hardline Islamic Taleban movement is reported to have disowned its former foreign minister in Afghanistan, Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil. The current government of President Hamid Karzai says it is considering whether to hold talks with Mr Mutawakil, the most senior Taleban to have been held in US custody. There continue to be conflicting reports on Mr Mutawakilâs whereabouts and whether he has been set free by the US. Recently President Karzai repeated an offer of an amnesty for all Taleban members deemed not to have innocent blood on their hands. A spokesman for Taleban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar told the BBC Pashto service on Tuesday that Mr Mutawakil "does not represent our will".
Mr Mutawakil has been traditionally seen as a moderate member of the Taleban which has been increasingly active in south-east Afghanistan in recent months. He surrendered to US forces some months after the US-led operation to oust the Taleban began in October, 2001. Recent days have seen a wave of reports and denials about Mr Mutawakilâs status. On Tuesday a spokesman for President Karzai, Jawid Ludin, seemed unsure himself as to Mr Mutawakilâs whereabouts. "I have no accurate information," he told the BBC Persian service.
|"No decapitations? No amputations? No slapping women around? He obviously doesn't represent our views... He must be killed!" |
On Monday Mr Ludin appeared to confirm earlier reports saying that Mr Mutawakil had been released from detention at the US airbase at Bagram, near Kabul. But he has now told the BBC that: "So far as we understand he is still under arrest and not yet released. I donât know if he is in Kandahar or Bagram." However other reports say he is under US protection at the Kandahar airbase, fearing attack from his former Taleban comrades.
|Have you looked in Peshawar and Quetta? That's where all the Talibs seem to live... |
The BBCâs Rahimullah Yusufzai says Mr Mutawakilâs aides have all along claimed that the US military authorities made two offers to Mr Mutawakil while he was in their custody at the Bagram airbase. They say he was invited to join the Karzai government as a spokesman and adviser to the Afghan president or to seek political asylum in a Western country. Though the US government has refrained from commenting on the issue, Mr Mutawakilâs colleagues say the offers are still valid. They believe Mr Mutawakil would like to stay away from Afghan politics for the time-being and would prefer asylum in an Arab country.
|So he's not jugged, he's just in danger of being slaughtered by is old friends... |
|"He'd also like a bullet-proof vest and some bodyguards, please..." |
Posted by: Paul Moloney 2003-10-22