7 Aug 2013

Promie by Taliban leader

10:02 am on 7 August 2013

Mullah Omar, the spiritual leader of the Taliban, has issued a statement saying the Taliban will not seek to monopolise power when foreign forces leave Afghanistan next year.

In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid, he said the Taliban will try to reach an understanding with the Afghan people for "an inclusive government based on Islamic principles".

The BBC reports the statement is seen as genuine by analysts inside Afghanistan.

Mullah Omar has been in hiding since 2001 and has a bounty of $US10 million on his head. He has made no public appearances or speeches since fleeing Afghanistan in 2001.

In the speech, he also reiterated his disdain for elections, scheduled for next year:

"As to the deceiving drama under the name of elections 2014, our pious people will not tire themselves out, nor will they participate in it.

He said selection in the polls, "de facto, takes place in Washington... participation in such elections is only a waste of time, nothing more".

The BBC reports the Taliban in previous elections has called on Afghans to boycott voting, deploying fighters to block roads to polling stations and targeting candidates.

Mullah Omar has relayed a message to the Afghan people annually for several years in the days before Eid al-Fitr, a three-day Islamic holiday celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Correspondents say