Taliban expresses scepticism over interim Afghan gov’t proposal

Taliban spokesman tells Al Jazeera an interim government, suggested by the US, will not solve Afghanistan’s problems.

Under the proposal, the national parliament could either be expanded to include Taliban members or suspended until after an election is held [File: Patrick Semansky/AP]

A Taliban spokesman has expressed scepticism over a proposal by the United States for an interim government in Afghanistan, saying transitional governments have proven ineffective and that the group’s vision for the country revolved around a strong central administration capable of enforcing their definition of an Islamic system of governance.

Washington had earlier in March proposed replacing the current government with an interim administration until a new constitution is agreed and elections are held, while a joint commission monitors a ceasefire.

Under the proposal, the national parliament could either be expanded to include Taliban members or suspended until after an election is held.

But Muhammad Naim, a Taliban spokesman, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview on Sunday that the group did not believe an interim government could deal with the country’s challenges.

“One need only look at our country’s past experiences over the last 40 years and the wars it has witnessed. Transitional governments were formed after the American occupation, some of them transitional, others participatory, but none of them have solved the country’s problems,” Naim said.

“We want an Islamic system that is strong and independent in order to solve the country’s problems and these foundational [questions] must be taken into consideration,” he said.

Naim reaffirmed the need for foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, as stated in a landmark agreement reached with the US in Doha last year.

Violence has spiked in recent months ahead of the May 1 withdrawal deadline.

Residents of the Afghan capital Kabul are terrorised by runaway crime, bombings and assassinations, and complain bitterly of security failures.

The United Nations Security Council has expressed concern at a number of targeted killings aimed at civil society activists, journalists, lawyers and judges. The ISIL (ISIS) group has taken responsibility for many but the Taliban and the government blame each other for the spike in attacks.

Afghanistan’s Minister of the Interior Masoud Andarabi on Sunday said government forces could hold their ground even if US troops withdrew.

“The Afghan security forces are fully capable of defending the capital and the cities and the territories that we are present in right now,” Andarabi told The Associated Press.

“We think that the Afghan security forces this year have proven to the Taliban that they will not be able to gain territory,” he said while conceding a hasty, uncalculated withdrawal by US forces could offer an opportunity to armed groups.

He said nearly 70 percent of Afghanistan’s police force is battling the Taliban, eroding efforts to maintain law and order. Every day, the police confront over 100 Taliban attacks throughout the country, he added.

Source: Al Jazeera