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Al-Qaida, Taliban rift emerges

[ 2012-02-22 16:21]     字号 [] [] []  
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The Taliban's decision to talk to the United States is stirring up tensions with al-Qaida as the Afghan militia comes under pressure to dump its terror allies in the name of peace.

Times are hard for al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The network has been weakened significantly by US drone strikes on its hideouts, last May's killing of founder Osama bin Laden and finances drying up.

Since the Afghan Taliban declared themselves in favor of talks with the US that could help end a decade of war in Afghanistan, al-Qaida has felt increasingly abandoned in its fight against the West.

As far as they're concerned, talking to the Americans is considered treason.

"We're not happy with the Doha process," a source close to al-Qaida confirmed to AFP. "We want the war to continue in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

After taking power in 1996, the Taliban allowed al-Qaida to base itself in Afghanistan, taking advantage of fierce codes of hospitality and alliances made during the 1980s war against theSoviets in Afghanistan.

But the alliance cost the Taliban dear. They refused to hand over bin Laden to the US after the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, the US invaded and their government collapsed within weeks.

The US ruled out any negotiations and the Taliban fled across the border into Pakistan's lawless tribal belt, where they found support among al-Qaida fighters, giving birth to a new stage in their relationship.

Al-Qaida strengthened its links with Pakistani extremist groups, including the umbrella Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which pledged allegiance and in 2007 launched a bloody insurgency against the Pakistani government.

In Afghanistan, the conflict only worsened, making it increasingly evident that there could be no military victory for anyone.

US President Barack Obama's announcement that NATO combat troops would withdraw in 2014 opened the door to a possible return to power for the Taliban.

But Washington has conditioned peace on the Taliban cutting all ties with al-Qaida. Saudi Arabia has also made its involvement in peace efforts conditional on the Taliban renouncing al-Qaida.

By approving talks with the US, the elusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar has dissociated him self from al-Qaida.

Mullah Omar recently asked the Pakistani Taliban to distance themselves from al-Qaida and no longer attack Pakistan, considered vital in any peace process in Afghanistan, said an Afghan Taliban official.

(中国日报网英语点津 Rosy 编辑)

Al-Qaida, Taliban rift emerges

About the broadcaster:

Al-Qaida, Taliban rift emerges

Emily Cheng is an editor at China Daily. She was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney with a degree in Media, English Literature and Politics. She has worked in the media industry since starting university and this is the third time she has settled abroad - she interned with a magazine in Hong Kong 2007 and studied at the University of Leeds in 2009.