Wednesday the Taliban issued an English-language statement on a known Taliban website . In it they claim that they pose no international threat . This move may fuel the debate among American and European policymakers over whether the hardline Afghan insurgent group can be split away from the international militants of al-Qaida.
The statement came amid reports that Barack Obama's military advisers are shifting the focus of US operations to target al-Qaida in Pakistan while downplaying the threat posed to America by the Taliban.
Published on the eighth anniversary of the first coalition strikes on Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban communique declares the militants' aim to be the "obtainment of independence and establishment of an Islamic system".
"We did not have any agenda to harm other countries including Europe nor we have such agenda today," said the statement, which was posted on a known Taliban website on Wednesday , guardian.co.uk reports.
News agencies also report, i t is not clear whether the statement represents a genuine shift in position or just an attempt to influence an ongoing debate. It could be both. The Taliban gets benefit from this act even if they are not serious for their intervention will fuel the increasingly acrimonious and muddled debate on Afghan strategy in the west. Or they will gain if the statement is taken seriously and they are genuinely interested in repositioning themselves as independent from al-Qaida.
There is no doubt the Taliban monitor western public opinion and are capable of manipulating the media. But whether they could split away from al-Qaida is unclear. Some strong personal ties have developed between key figures on both sides – such as between Mullah Muhammad Omar and Osama bin Laden – and a few specialists from al-Qaida have helped the insurgents inside Afghanistan. But al-Qaida is still almost entirely composed of Arabs from core Middle Eastern countries and the Maghreb, while the Taliban are predominantly Pashtun Afghan , guardian.co.uk reports.
guardian.co.uk quoted the Taliban 's statement, "We did not have any agenda to harm other countries including Europe nor we have such agenda today," said the statement, which was posted on a known Taliban website on Wednesday.
"Still, if you want to turn the country of the proud and pious Afghans into a colony, then know that we have an unwavering determination and have braced for a prolonged war."
Though the statement's authenticity is yet to be confirmed, the claim would appear to be evidence at the very least that the Taliban are seeking to influence the strategic argument in the west, guardian.co.uk reports.