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Former feared Taliban enforcer now promoting peace in Afghanistan

June 23, 2011

He was one of the most feared figures of the Taliban government: a scowling cleric whose Islamic vigilante squads roamed the capital, shoving stragglers toward mosques at prayer time, dragging men off to jail for listening to radios and beating women they caught chatting with shopkeepers writes Pamela Constable for the Washington Post.

Taliban minister Maulvi Qalamuddin, 60, is on the High Peace Council, set up to negotiate with the insurgency. Photo: Washington Post

At 60, Maulvi Qalamuddin still wears the thick black beard and imposing turban that defined him during his tenure as deputy minister for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. But his rhetoric has mellowed since Taliban rule ended in 2001, and last year he was named by President Hamid Karzai, along with five other former Taliban officials, to the High Peace Council set up to negotiate with the insurgency.

Now the Karzai government, in a further bid to bolster the fledgling peace process, has asked the U.N. Security Council to remove Qalamuddin and 19 other former Taliban members from a sanctions list that has prevented them from traveling or sending money abroad since 1999. The United Nations is expected to announce a decision within weeks.

“All human beings need peace, even if they were once enemies,” the former minister said during an interview this week, pouring tea for visitors at his modest home in the capital. He criticized the revived Taliban forces for “un-Islamic” actions such as suicide bombings yet said he fully supported Karzai’s plan to welcome all but their most violent leaders into a future government.

To read the rest of the story on The Wasahington Post online, click HERE, or on the image above.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Priscilla Dicketts permalink
    June 23, 2011 15:12

    I agree with the comment that all human beings need peace even if they were once enemies. But can he accept the change that women want in Afghanistan. The promotion of virtue and prevention of vice need to be ironed out with this person, what are his real views on this????

  2. Michael Rees-Prichett permalink
    June 23, 2011 15:47

    I agree with his sentiments but bear in mind the US Special Forces are now taking out individual Taliban much the same as our SAS did in Northern Ireland and this has something to do with former ‘terrorists’ wanting to come to the negotiating table. He hasn’t changed his ‘Islamic’ beliefs so women will still not have the same rights as western women and, as in Northern ireland, all the concessions and welcoming old enemies into government will not stop violence, only give the old villians a pardon and legitimacy.

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