WASHINGTON: The Taliban has released an audio message from new leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, intended to reassure Taliban leaders, elders, clerics and scholars that the Taliban jihad will continue until the Islamic system is brought to Afghanistan.
In an audio message, he says all decisions will be taken in the light of Islamic law, be it war or peace talks, and advised his followers not to pay attention to rumors being spread about the Taliban campaign.
Mansoor replaces Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar, who’s death has been confirmed by the Taliban, although the timing of his death is unclear.
An Afghan Taliban splinter faction called Fidai Mahaz, which first leaked the news of Mullah Omar’s death few days ago, claimed Saturday that the Taliban’s founder leader was in fact poisoned to death.
The United States is calling on the Taliban’s new leaders to take part in what the U.S. sees as an extremely promising opportunity for “a genuine peace” and reconciliation between the Taliban and the Kabul government.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Daniel Feldman, the top American diplomat working on Afghan peace efforts, says the United States hopes all sides will move beyond the cancellation of Friday’s scheduled peace talks following confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death.
Saturday, Feldman, met with Pakistani military chief, General Raheel Sharif, to praise “his role in bringing all parties to peace talks between Afghanistan Government and Taliban.”
A Pakistan military statement quoted Ambassador Feldman as saying he “hoped with all sincerity that talks would resume soon to bring lasting peace.”