Taliban Moderate: Most of Us Want Peace

Agha Jan Motasim shot for preaching unity government
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2012 9:59 AM CDT
Former Taliban fighters hand over their weapons to Afghan police as part of a reconciliation process in Herat, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 13, 2012.   (Hoshang Hashimi)

(Newser) – Most Taliban fighters want peace, with only "a few" hardliners holding out against it, a member of the Quetta Shura leadership council tells the AP—and he's got the bullet wounds to prove his sincerity. "The majority of the Taliban and the Taliban leadership want a broad-based government for all Afghan people and an Islamic system like other Islamic countries," Agha Jan Motasim said in a phone interview.

He chastised the US and Britain for reneging on promises and failing to bolster moderates like himself, and outlined the Taliban's three primary demands: that all Afghan prisoners be released from Gitmo and a facility near Bagram, that Taliban names be removed from the United Nations sanctions blacklist, and the recognition of the Taliban as a political party. Motasim once led the Taliban's political committee, until he was shot in August by fellow fighters who disagreed with his vision of an inclusive government. He narrowly survived the shooting, and is currently recovering in Turkey. For much more of his story, click here.

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