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14 Jun, 2016 12:19

Orlando shootings: Killer's father supports Taliban, shunned by Afghan groups

Seddique Mateen, the Orlando shooter’s father, has been revealed as an ardent supporter of the Taliban amid the apologies for his son’s crime. However, he’s also being labeled “unstable” and has been shunned by political circles in his native Afghanistan.

Seddique Mateen’s public endeavors may point to more extreme political leanings than his apologies following the Orlando massacre would have one believe. The man is somewhat a celebrity in Afghan-American circles in the US for his online presence and occasional TV appearances, where his hardline pro-Taliban beliefs come to the fore. At one point, in his criticism of the Afghan government, Mateen proclaimed himself president in absentia – a role he continues to pursue.

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The owner of California-based satellite channel Payam-e-Afghan, Omar Khatab, told Reuters that Seddique Mateen bought air time for his show 'Durand Jirga,' which paid a lot of attention to the disputed Durand Line frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan drawn up by the British Empire.

“Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in the Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he says in one of his YouTube videos, where he sometimes appeared in military fatigues.

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However, even this seeming Taliban enthusiasm has US authorities puzzled, opting to view Mateen as a confused individual for seemingly contradictory statements regarding Afghan-Pakistani politics, according to AFP: in one appearance he would appear to be holding pro-Taliban banners, while in another would harshly criticize them for being “servants” of the ISI, Pakistan’s secretive intelligence service.

The agency also learned that officials back home in Afghanistan sought to distance themselves from Mateen, while a senior Taliban source told AFP: “I don’t even consider him a jihadi.”

Speaking to RT, Prince Ali Seraj, President of the National Coalition for Dialogue With the Tribes of Afghanistan, called Mateen an “unstable” individual prone to making “fantastical claims.”

This so-called president of Afghanistan has been running around” US government offices, “speaking incoherently. And he makes all these fantastic claims – one minute he’s in favor of the Tailban, another minute… he’s in favor of Pakistan. The man, in my personal opinion, is unstable. He’s become the laughing stock among the Afghan community.”

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Seraj adds that the FBI should be investigating Seddique Mateen and his family connections much more closely.

The mystery of Omar’s father’s true political role (if any) only deepens. Seraj refers to Seddique Mateen’s visits to the State Department on Capitol Hill for reasons US officials would not disclose. RT inquired at a media briefing about the photograph depicting Mateen in front of one of the offices. State Department spokesman Mark Toner, however, said the office only handled things like consular affairs and denied any knowledge of Mateen having visited.

“We don’t have records of any meeting with this gentleman and any State Department policy officials whatsoever,” Toner added.

It is interesting that Toner would not have heard of such a meeting before the Mateen briefing, even if it’s only because Mateen was such a prolific Facebook poster. He had described the April trip to DC online.  There he was also seen posing in front of the Democratic Foreign Services Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee offices. He poses with several higher-ups, including Ed Royce, who is Chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

In that post he also describes being present at a briefing on Afghanistan security.