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Pakistani Cleric's Suicide Bomber Comments Anger Afghans

Tahir Ashrafi, head of the All-Pakistan Ulema Council
Tahir Ashrafi, head of the All-Pakistan Ulema Council
Comments on suicide bombers, which may or may not have been made by the head of the All-Pakistan Ulema Council, have been making waves in Afghanistan.

Tolo News, a private Afghan TV station, quoted Tahir Ashrafi, who heads the influential body of clerics, as saying that “suicide attacks are permitted in Afghanistan as long as American forces are present in the country.” Tolo News also quoted Ashrafi as saying: "Palestine is occupied by Israel, Kashmir by India, and Afghanistan by the U.S. So if the Muslims don't have the atomic bomb, they should sacrifice their lives for God.”

But in a subsequent interview with RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, Ashrafi said: “This is baseless and the liar’s place is at the bottom of hell.” In another interview with the Pajwak News Agency Ashrafi said: “I’ve never supported suicide attacks that cause civilian casualties in Afghanistan.”

Misquoted or not, Ashrafi’s remarks have generated plenty of reaction in Afghanistan.

On March 2, at a joint press conference with visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the alleged remarks showed that “practical steps are not being taken in Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.” Rasmussen himself also “strongly condemned” such remarks, adding that “nothing can justify terrorist attacks.”

According to the Afghan news site KhaamaPress, the national security adviser to President Karzai, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, said on March 2 that Ashrafi’s alleged comments highlighted the “mainstream violence that threatens the peaceful lives of the Afghan people.”

Spanta's deputy, Rahmatullah Nabil, told Radio Free Afghanistan on March 3 that Ashrafi’s remarks were thought to be the stance of the Pakistani government. He also called on the international community to blacklist organizations backing terrorist groups -- a reference to Pakistan’s intelligence network.

The condemnations have gone beyond the Afghan government.

The Wakht News Agency reported that the head of the Afghanistan Civil Society Network, Sayed Naser Mosawi, condemned the remarks, saying that they could further damage relations between the two countries. “I believe this is not the assertion of a religious scholar, but a conspiracy plotted by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), seeking its own interests in fueling violence and suicide attacks in Afghanistan,” he said.

Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of backing Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Islamabad, however, rejects these accusations as baseless.

The controversy over Ashrafi’s remarks comes after Pakistan’s Ulema Council recently said it would not participate in a joint meeting in March in Kabul, which is geared toward peace building. Afghan and Pakistani leaders agreed during a trilateral summit in London in February to convene the meeting.

However, according to reports, prominent Pakistani cleric Mufti Abu Huraira Mohiuddin said in a letter addressed to the Afghan ulema that they were not willing to denounce the activities of the Taliban nor “would they issue a fatwa against them.”

Ashrafi also told Radio Free Afghanistan that they would not take part in the conference “because it lacked a clear agenda.”

-- Mustafa Sarwar
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by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
March 06, 2013 16:11
It might be possible to identify one or more suicide bombings in which no innocent civilians we murdered, but whether he supports murdering innocent civilians depends on which side of his mouth you were listening to.
In Response

by: David Powell from: Ocean City NJ USA
March 08, 2013 16:29
It is fitting the photo shows him with his mouth open, that's probably how he is all the time. Pakistan sure seems to harbor a lot of these scumbags, eventually they're going to have to decide to get rid of them. Pakistan's government has played a double game for too long.
In Response

by: zahid khan from: Islamabad
March 12, 2013 09:46
You Americans and western powers must not intrude to the soverign nations world wide. U the dajjal group ie,CIA black water killing innocent pipl in muslim countries. U need be fitting response at ur homelands.

by: Zhakfar from: Prague
March 10, 2013 15:47
I am deeply saddened by the Pakistan Ulema council speech over legitimizing suicide attacks in Afghanistan. I would say that suicide attack can't be a legitimate act in any part of the world.
Thanks

by: Qayoom Suroush from: Bishkek
March 10, 2013 16:05
Let's put it this way: he has told that but does not like to be heard out of his followers and Taliban. These scholars and Mullahs have always help the Taliban to justify their war against Afghan Gov. And as has told here, they will not participate to any peace talks unless the ISI interests are secured.
Look to recent video that Taliban sent for Al-Jazira. I believe those who believe that the Taliban are unsatisfied tribes and fight for inclusion in politics should see this video. The video proves that the Taliban are not the ignorant tribal men but high-tech and well supported military.

by: Zainab
March 10, 2013 17:48
Pakistani intelligence network will keep supporting the insurgents by every possible means. One of the means is conveying its message through religious scholars. My message to the Paskistani establishment is to stop interfering into the internal affairs of Afghanistan and let Afghans resolve their problems on their own. As a female person, I would like to say that it is the presence of US-led forces in Afghanistan that girls and women can freely go to schools and work. Don't take this opportunity from us and take good care of your own country, which is at the brink of failure.

by: abdullah aman from: afghanistan
March 10, 2013 18:56
With all began engaging in political dimensions of Taliban and the region in disorder and country Pakistan ISI, which is a change for the region destruction I personally do Mr. ashrafi bit that Afghanistan is gallant nation.The suicide attacks and we as a crime and we think we borrowed thousands of their blood from the i are Kerry

by: farid from: kabul
March 11, 2013 05:46
these guys use human as a bullet, these bombers which they send for killing people are more dangerous than a bullet because a bullet kills one but they kill more human.
The company of this kind of bullet production is placed between Pakistan and Afghanistan border.
this place is like dark water and need to be clear water, if not so the developed countries water will be dark too!
If Mr. Karzai release the 600 Talib prisoner from jails so these bullets will kill too many people!
God bless good people!

by: Khalid Mafton from: Kabul
March 11, 2013 06:11

It is a well written piece, covering the original remarks of the so-called Pakistani cleric, which I perceive him as mischievous individual with evil mentality and negative attitude towards the people of our land, Afghanistan. Given our past experience, what this so-called cleric stated is a true stance of Pakistan’s policy against this war-torn country, whose people—for decades—have been victim of their double standard policies. Like him, all Pakistani officials strongly support suicide bombings in Afghanistan and oppose it strongly similar act in Pakistan. But thanks to divine justice, now—to some extent—they are a victim of their own conspiracies. The negative attitude of Pakistan towards Afghanistan has always been followed by their ill behavior and will continue so in the future. But hopefully, the international community will continue its support from the Afghan people and one day—hopefully within our lifetime—we will witness a shirt of policy from ill attitude and behavior to a positive one.
In Response

by: Umar from: Karachi
March 12, 2013 09:53
u the agents of Then the USSR and now the USA are responible for all these interfernces by other countries. coz u brought culture of communism now the capitalism within a muslim country that certainly reporduced such events.

why these foriegn forces are here? they should left Afghanistan and stop their agenda in our region.
In Response

by: Wafa from: Herat
March 13, 2013 09:45
Mr Umar. Thanks for this. But as an afghan i should say that it's better be the slave of a free man than to be the slave of a slave. Your remarks are like the joke of Mullah Nasrudin: Mullah was eating the skin of melon, a neighbor said: Mullah! why are you eating the skin of melon, throw it away! Mullah replied: You want me to throw it away in order for you to take it from me! Now, Pakistani networks are waiting for the opportunity that as soon as the US leaves Afghanistan, they will comeback with their religious puppets to close the doors of schools, to close down media, to pressure men to put long beards, to ban music, films and dancing, to chop off their hands and to shoot people in the football stadiums and to establish a harsh islamic emirates. But let me assure you that this will not happen in one thousand years of time! Please stop day dreaming and avoid making castles in air anymore. Gone are those days that pakistan will rise to power in beloved Afghanistan!
In Response

by: farid from: kabul
March 13, 2013 10:52
We Afghans shouldn't fight to USSR, first we should let them to devastate Pakistan, then it we should took them out!
It's not your business that foreign forces are here in Afghanistan We can judge about JUST ourselves and let them to help us to clean and clear all this human killers (suicide bombers).
1-Here is a microbe, bacterium and virus in the REGION which is placed JUST in north of Pakistan.
2-Here is microbe, bacterium and virus in the ASIA which is Pakistan Government!
If these two bacteria and virus didn't be deleted, 1st Afghanistan 2nd Asia and 3rd all world would be squalid,
And no power could clean it later!

by: Anar from: Azerbaijan
March 11, 2013 09:00
It is very disappointing to watch as the two neighboring Muslim countries do not get along with each other. Instead of neighboring Pakistan as the world's fifth largest nuclear power would assist Afghanistan in peace-building processes, Pakistan adds fuel to the fire. It is a shame!

by: Nazari B from: Canada
March 11, 2013 12:56
Pakistan has always played a double standard policy toward Afghanistan. For sure its Ulema council recieves guidence from the related government organizations. Events on the ground in Afghanistan also indicate peaceful reconciliation in not at the forefront of Taliban strategy. Mustafa has gathered good sources of information in this report which tells us everthing.

by: anti-suicide
March 13, 2013 11:09
Thank you for this excellent article. suicide attacks should be prohibited by any means. They only bring misery and suffering.
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