- Title: Son of Afghan resistance hero criticises "secretive" U.S. Taliban deal
- Date: 6th September 2019
- Summary: PHOTOS OF FORMER AFGHAN ANTI-SOVIET MUJAHIDEEN COMMANDER AHMAD SHAH MASSOUD AT THE CEREMONY
- Embargoed: 20th September 2019 12:13
- Keywords: Afghanistan peace deal United States and the Taliban Ahmad Massoud
- Location: PANJSHIR, AFGHANISTAN
- City: PANJSHIR, AFGHANISTAN
- Country: Afghanistan
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA002AVIQ2BR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:The "secretive" peace deal between the United States and the Taliban risks wide resistance in Afghanistan if it opens the door to the insurgents' hardline regime, the son of the slain hero of the anti-Soviet resistance, Ahmad Shah Massoud said on Thursday (September 5).
Ahmad Massoud, who was 12 years old when his father was assassinated just days before the Sept 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, has been among a string of Afghan politicians criticising the accord reached with the Taliban this week.
"It's very secretive, it has happened behind closed doors and the people do not know what sort of agreement the United States of America - a very big and important power - is having with the Taliban," Massoud told Reuters in an interview at his family's house in the Panjshir valley.
While Massoud is yet to carve out a central position of his own in Afghan politics, the aura of one of his father's name adds weight to his words in a country where the habits of dynastic politics remain deeply ingrained.
Speaking after a rally of some 10,000 supporters at his father's mausoleum on Thursday, the comments reflect deep suspicion among many in Afghanistan of an agreement reached without involvement by Afghan authorities themselves.
The peace accord would see thousands of U.S. troops withdrawn in exchange for promises not to let Afghanistan be used as a base for future militant attacks on the United States and its allies.
It is intended as a first step to a peace deal between the Taliban and wider Afghan society but it remains unclear what will happen next. The insurgents have refused to negotiate directly with the Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate "puppet" regime and mistrust abounds.
President Ashraf Ghani's spokesman said this week the government had serious concerns and wanted further clarification from Washington.
Although details have not been made public, the fact that the accord appears to acknowledge the Taliban's self-described status as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has aroused particular anger.
Many Taliban officials have said the country's constitutional status should revert to the Islamic Emirate, but opponents see the term as a direct challenge to the internationally recognised Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the state formed after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
(Production: Aziz Mohammad, Hameed Farzad)
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