The statement by Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban spokesman in Doha, via an exclusive video message to Associated Press on Wednesday saying they are not seeking a “monopoly of power” in Kabul could be regarded as the first real sighting of land in the insurgent movement’s uncertain voyage to a homecoming.
Shaheen said: “After the end of the occupation, Afghans should forget their past and tolerate one another, and start life like brothers. After the withdrawal, we are not seeking a monopoly on power.”
He added pointedly that the Taliban want to avoid a return to the anarchy of the Mujahideen takeover in Afghanistan in the early 1990s. But what Shaheen didn’t say out of deliberation is far from inconsequential either – that the Taliban do not want a replay of the late 1990s. Simply put, Taliban are not seeking power all over again, only to remain an international pariah and be denied any international assistance to rebuild their country and put the ravages of decades of war behind them.