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In Afghanistan and Pakistan, Taliban, Religious Groups Urge Obama to Launch New Era of Peace in the World

By MEMRI
November 6, 2008 - No. 2105
http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD210508

The Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan have reacted cautiously to Barack Obama's victory in the U.S. presidential elections. The following are excerpts from statements on the matter by Qari Muhammad Yusuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan; byMuslim Khan, a spokesman for the Taliban in Pakistan; and by religious leaders:

"If Obama Sends More Troops to [Afghanistan], Jihad Will Be Continued"

Qari Muhammad Yusuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan, had this to say about Obama's election: "The new U.S. president can begin a new era of peace in the world. Therefore, [Barack] Obama should withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan... We want Obama to change President Bush's policies. He can end the war that has been going on for years by withdrawing U.S. and Allied troops from Afghanistan...

"An increase in the number of troops in Afghanistan cannot bring change; rather, even if a soldier is deployed for every stone in Afghanistan, the West cannot bring in [to Kabul] a government of its choice. [1] "

"There is neither sadness nor happiness among the Taliban groups over the election of Barack Obama as U.S. president... The issue is not a change of face in the U.S. presidency but [the need for] a change in policies...

"During the election campaign, Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama and Republican Party candidate John McCain had emphasized that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan would be increased.... If [Obama] fulfils his campaign promise, the Taliban cannot be happy about his election..."

Asked whether the Taliban would agree to talks with the new U.S. administration, Qari Muhammad Yusuf Ahmadi said:"Talks can be held only on condition that U.S. and Allied troops be totally withdrawn from Afghanistan." [2]

"We want to tell the world and the West to pull out their troops from Afghanistan as the Bush party has lost the race because of their flawed polices....

"They have started the fighting and they should bring an end to it by pulling out troops. If it was not done, Afghans will show strong resistance to every foreign occupation....

"We do not have much expectations. But despite that, we will see. If Obama sends more troops to the war-ravaged country, Jihad and resistance will be continued. [3] "

"The Change of Leadership in the U.S. Will Be Meaningless… As Long As Pakistan Remains Under U.S. Influence"

Muslim Khan, a spokesman for the Taliban in Pakistan, said of Obama's victory: "The change of leadership in the U.S. will remain meaningless until the U.S. and Allied troops are withdrawn from Afghanistan, and [as long as] Pakistan remains under U.S. influence...

"If president-elect Barack Obama persists with the policy adopted in Afghanistan and Iraq, and if the path to the establishment of an Islamic system in Pakistan is stopped [by the U.S.], our struggle against the U.S. will continue as ever...

"[We hope that] Barack Obama [will] respect his mandate, [and will, instead of] converting the tax money from the American public into a heap of explosives, spend [it] on their welfare. [4] "

Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan: The Koran Warns, "Jews and Christians Could Never Be Friends with Muslims"

Jamatud Dawa, a militant group banned by the U.S., that was formerly known as Lashkar-e-Taiba and banned by the U.S., called for change in U.S. policies toward the Muslim world, saying, "A change in direction [of U.S. policies] could help heal rifts with Muslim nations [5]."

Syed Munawwar Hasan, secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, said: "There is a parallel between the February 18 elections in Pakistan and the U.S. presidential election. Here [in Pakistan], the people rejected the policies of President Pervez Musharraf, while the U.S. public used their vote against [President] Bush's policies....

"The U.S. is hated worldwide due to its foreign policies. Barack Obama will need to understand the reasons...

"The U.S. has always backed dictators in Muslim states, and has trampled people's democratic decisions. The same double standard is used even in the war against terror; the U.S. has always stood by occupiers in crushing people's movements in Palestine and Kashmir.

"If Barack Obama wants to see peace in the world, he must change these policies. Otherwise, the fire lit by Bush in the name of [the war on] terrorism will spread across the world and destroy it into dust.... [6] "

Sajid Mir, a senator and president of Jamiat Ahle Hadith, said on Obama's likely policy toward Pakistan:

"Expecting anything from him for Pakistan’s security and sovereignty was too optimistic... We must not be optimistic that he would be a well-wisher of Pakistan and respect our sovereignty, since he would prefer U.S. national interests and policies of Washington...

"[O]nly time would tell if it was a mere change of face or Washington was really concerned with its falling image in the world [7] "

Abul Khair Muhammad Zubair, president of Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan, also warned that it would be "folly" to expect any good from Obama, in light of the U.S.'s history in dealing with the Muslim world: "[T]he Book [Koran] had already warned Muslims that Jews and Christians could never be friends with Muslims unless they made Muslims abandon their religion to become like Jews and Christians...

"[The U.S. missile attacks on Pakistan's tribal districts] could not be stopped unless Islamabad took a bold stance and shunned cowardice. [8] "



[1] Roznama Mashriq, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[2] Roznama Khabrain, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[3] The News, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[4] Roznama Khabrain, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[5] The Nation, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[6] Roznama Jasarat, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[7] The News, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.

[8] The News, Pakistan, November 6, 2008.



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