Taliban reaches out to Shias – The Hindu

Taliban reaches out to Shias – The Hindu

Ahead of intra-Afghan talks, the Sunni insurgency asks Shias to join the fight against the ‘invaders’

The Taliban insurgency seems to be pulling all the stops it can to gain political legitimacy in Afghanistan ahead of the intra-Afghan peace talks. In a new video message from the Taliban, released on April 22, the group seeks the support of the Hazara Shias and wants to recruit from the long persecuted minority.

The poorly edited video features the insurgency’s newly appointed northern district Governor Mawlawi Mahdi Mujahid, an ethnic Hazara, Shia cleric, who incites his brethren to fight against the “Jewish and Christian invaders” alongside the Sunni-majority Taliban. “Weren’t you holding our flags alongside the Sunni brothers in jihad against Soviets? How can you forget that history? Why are you silent against these invaders led by the Americans?” he sermonises, with the use of dramatic gestures.

Prisoner swap

The video appeal comes ahead of a much-anticipated peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. The insurgent group has already signed an agreement with the U.S. administration, which paved the way for a possible peace deal with the Afghan government. Already, negotiation teams have been finalised, and prisoner releases from both sides are under way.

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