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As Kabul Gets a Bomb Attack, the Taliban Open an Office in Doha

A suicide bomb explosion shook a western district of Kabul, Afghanistan on June 18, killing at least three and injuring more than twenty. The explosion took place shortly before the international coalition (ISAF) forces were due to officially transfer responsibility for security of the remaining districts of eastern and southern Afghanistan to the Afghan national security forces. As Afghans reeled from the news of the attack, the Taliban opened their smart new Headquarters in Qatar.

As Al Jazeera reported, the insurgents’ target was Mohammed Mohaqiq, a popular Afghan cleric, politician and member of the High Council of Peace, whose convoy was making its way to the parliament at the time of the blast. The explosion did not harm him, but destroyed one of the vehicles in the convoy and injured at least four of his guards.

After the explosion, Mohaqiq spoke to local people and Afghan elders confirming that he had been threatened previously and was not supposed to travel around the city, but had to go to parliament due to some pressing government business. The news quickly circulated on different social media, attracting a series of reactions from Afghans. Former Pakistani diplomat Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) tweeted:

Ustaaz Mohaqiq one of kindest, gentlest leaders I've ever met. Prayers for his long life & health. Enemies of Afghanistan will never win.

Pakistan condemned the attack as well. The country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman (@PakSpokesperson) tweeted:

Pakistan strongly condemns the terrorist attack on the convoy of Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq

June 18, 2013 marked one of the most crucial days in Afghan history, as aside from the shift of security responsibilities from international to national forces, the Taliban Headquarters was opened in Doha, Qatar, where representatives from the Taliban and the Qatar government addressed the media.

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 12.11.29 AM

A plaque marking the opening of the office of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” adorns the wall of the Taliban's Doha HQ. (Screen shot from Al Jazeera reportage)

Lina Rozbih-Haidari, Voice of America Ashna TV anchor, posted a picture of a Taliban representative at the opening ceremony of their Doha office on her public facebook page, to which hundreds of angry Afghans responded, condemning the apparent legitimization of Taliban through the office opening. Lila Ali wrote [fa]:

چه دنیایی بی انصافی! برای آدمکش ها اینقدر قدر داده می شود

What an unjust world! Murderers are given such respect.

Amir Emal commented [fa]:

افراد که از طالبان پیشتیبانی میکنند یکبار تصاویر از مرگ افغان های بیچاره که در این حملات طالبان ازبین رفتن سر خم کرده و عدالت کنید و ببینید که ایا قتل اولاد وطن و قتل غریب و بیچاره وطن قابل قبول است ؟ ایا قابل انسانیت است ؟ ایا جذ اساسات اسلامی است؟؟ ایا وقتیکه از گروه طالبان پیشتیبانی میکنی ایا از دین خبر داری ؟ ایا به وطن و مردم خود محبت داری ؟ خون در رگهایت جریان دارد ؟ خود را انسان میدانی ؟ اگر جواب منطقی داری خوب پس مهربانی

Those who support Taliban should take a look at the images of those who were killed by the Taliban's attacks and then decide whether you are accepting murder of your poor and innocent children and countrymen. Is it humanity? Is it according to Islamic principles? When you support Taliban, are you aware of your religion? Do you love your country and people? Is blood running in your veins? Do you call yourself a Muslim? Please enlighten us, if you have a logical reasoning for it.

Concerned over the future of Afghanistan, Abd Bassir ZoMar highlighted [fa]:

 خانم روزبه من از نگرانی که افکارت را مشغول ساخته آگاهم… بعد از ایجاد دفتر آنها بیشتر قدرت سیاسی بدست آوردند و همچنان فرصتی خوبی را برای بدست آوردن کمک مالی از کشور های عربی بدست آوردند… افغانستان حالا دو دولت دارد…(جمهوری اسلامی افغانستان) و (امارات اسلام)… یک نمونه از کذشته !!! بسیار جای تاسف است و باز هم مردم این رهبران مصلحت گراه را نشناختند که خون صدها هزار انسان را ریختانده اند و امروز نیز همه با این کار سکوت اختیار کردند

Ms. Rozbih, I am aware of the worries that have occupied your thoughts. After the establishment of their office, they [Taliban] have gained more political power and an opportunity to get financial assistance from Arab states. Now Afghanistan has two governments: the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan….. a sign of the past. It is unfortunate that people haven't recognized that [Taliban] have shed the blood of hundreds of humans. Today, once again, everyone is silent.

Another angry comment from Zakir SakhiZada reads [fa]:

اينرا نبايد دفترگفت بلكه باغ وحش گفت قطر دريك اقدام بي سابقه براي خدمت به افغانستان تعدادي از حيوانات وحشي را ازافغانستان جمع نموده ويك باغوحش براي بازديد جهانيان ازين حيوانات كمياب افتتاح نموده

This should not be called an ‘Office', but a ‘Zoo'. Doing a huge service to Afghanistan, Qatar has opened a zoo gathering these rare animals to exhibit them to the world.

This post is part of the GV Central Asia Interns Project at the American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

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