Waheed Muzhda Confirms Talks with Taliban

KABUL: (MEP) – A day after reported about a recording of a phone conversation between Jabhe Wahdat Millie spokesman Wahid Muzhda and a leader of the Afghan Taliban, Muzhda Saturday confirmed that the conversation took place, but maintained his dialogue with the insurgents began in coordination with the United Nations.

On Friday, Muzhda denied involvement in any talks with Taliban leadership, despite a recording having been delivered to media by Afghan security officials who asked not to be named. Based on the recording, it would appear Muzhda was plotting to rile-up support against the Kabul-Washington security pact in coordination with the Taliban, who have condemned the accord.

This all comes as the Loya Jirga is convened in Kabul in which 2,500 leaders from around the country discuss the Kabul-Washington Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) in preparation to making a recommendation to the National Assembly and President Hamid Karzai on how to proceed.

The phone conversation between Muzhda and an unidentified Taliban leader included talk about fraudulently writing denunciations of the BSA in the name of the Afghan Ambassador to the U.S., organizing rallies against the BSA in public areas and coordinating the Taliban’s public statement in opposition to the accord.

“I confirm the phone call and it is my own voice,” Muzhda told TOLOnews on Saturday. “These calls with the Taliban in Qatar and here were in some instances in coordination with the United Nations. I have said this, especially addressing concerns of the United Nations in regards to civilian casualties and things like that.”

TOLOnews was unable to get a statement to corroborate those claims from the UN office in Kabul.

The revelations of Muzhda’s phone call conversation with the Taliban, and apparent collaboration with them, received harsh criticisms from Afghan officials and the public.

Before the recording was delivered to media, last Saturday, National Security Advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfur Spanta had spoken to the Lower House and reported that the National Directorate of Security (NDS) had tapped a phone call and overheard such a conversation, though he did not give Muzhda’s name. At the time, Spanta said he wish had been able to arrest the person on the call and put them on trial as a traitor.

Muzhda clearly falls on the anti-BSA side of the contentious debate that has consumed Afghanistan in recent weeks. Many say the BSA is essential to Afghanistan’s future stability and progress, while others, like the Taliban, have suggested it would perpetuate the insurgent conflict and make Kabul kowtow to Washington.

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