Peshawar, July 31 (NIA): The political situation in Afghanistan is getting more complicated with the Chinese inviting a top Taliban delegation to Beijing to brief them on the emerging trends in the troubled South Asian country.
A delegation led by Abbas Stanekzai, head of the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, visited Beijing between July 18 and 22, a senior member of the Taliban told the Pakistani daily Dawn.
“We have good terms with different countries of the world and China is one among them,” said the Taliban official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“We informed Chinese officials about the occupation by invading forces and their atrocities against Afghan people,” he said.
“We wanted the Chinese leadership to help us raise these issues on world forums and help us get freedom from occupying forces.”
The visit was confirmed by other senior Taliban figures who did not want to be named because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the Qatar political office.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Who is Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai?
Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, took over as the acting chief of the group’s political office in Qatar in 2015 and pledged allegiance to the newly elected Supremo, Mullah Akhthar Mansoor.
The appointment came a day after the head of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, Sayed Tayyeb Agha, resigned citing differences over the election of the ultra-orthodox militia’s new supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.
“I and other members of the Political Office of the Islamic Emirate declare allegiance to the honorable Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. We consider this decision in accordance with Islamic Sharia and will follow his instructions,” Stanekzai said in a statement on taking over.
It was said that Stanekzai’s appointment would put a pause on the longstanding tensions between Tayyeb Agha and Mansoor and the understanding could help in the peace process.
But there was also a strong opinion among the leaders to opt for indirect talks instead of direct negotiations, a Taliban leader said.
Stanekzai, who had also served as deputy minister for health during Taliban rule, was the founding member of the Qatar office. He was later appointed as deputy to Tayyeb Agha.
Believed to be aged between 55 and 60 years, Stanekzai is a former member of the Harkat-e-Inqilab-e-Islami of Muhammad Nabi and holds a masters’ degree in political science.
Taliban Scores Military Successes
Dawn reported on Saturday, that an important district in Afghanistan’s poppy-growing province of Helmand has fallen under Taliban control after heavy fighting that killed around 17 policemen.
The Director of Helmand’s Provincial Council, Kareem Atal, said that Taliban militants attacked a series of police checkpoints on Friday night as part of a larger assault in the Kanashin district.
Earlier, his deputy, Abdul Majeed Akhonzada, said that Kanashin district had “fallen into Taliban hands”.
The fall of the district, which borders Pakistan and major poppy-producing districts, meant the “Taliban are in control of 60 per cent of Helmand,” Akhonzada said. Much of the areas of Marjah, Sangin, Garmser and Dishu districts have already fallen to the Taliban, he said.
The district police chief and deputy head of the local branch of the national intelligence agency were critically wounded in clashes, he said.
Precise casualty figures could not be confirmed as fighting was still under way, he added. He said that bodies still littered the ground.
Atal said troops had been deployed to retake the district, but it would be a difficult task “because the Taliban have destroyed all the checkpoints”.