Afghanistan, Kabul: Today, a statement said, the Taliban refused to resume long stalled peace talks with the Afghan government, reiterating their preconditions for holding dialogue. It said, “We want to repeat our stance once again that until the occupation of foreign troops ends, until Taliban names are removed from international blacklists and until our detainees are released, talks will yield no results”.
The statement comes as direct face to face talks between the militant group and the Kabul government were expected to start in Islamabad this week. The statement added, “We unequivocally state that the esteemed leader of Islamic Emirate (Taliban) has not authorized anyone to participate in this meeting and neither has the Leadership Council of Islamic Emirate decided to partake in it”.
The announcement is a blow to efforts by Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States to restart negotiations aimed at ending the Taliban’s long and bloody insurgency in Afghanistan. Delegates from the four countries met in Kabul late February for a fourth round of talks aimed at reviving the nascent peace process, which stalled last summer. The quartet had called for a direct dialogue between the Taliban and Kabul by this week, a deadline that analysts called “completely unrealistic”.