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Taliban call off peace talks with U.S

Taliban call off peace talks with U.S”

"They (Taliban) say that they do not want to talk with the Afghan government, yet they have accepted committing unforgivable crimes", said Abdullah.

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad has held three rounds of talks with the Taliban, but on Tuesday, the militants cancelled a fourth round, which had been due in Qatar this week.

Besides, refusing to allow the Afghan government to become part of the dialogue, both the USA and Taliban have hit a snag over a potential ceasefire in 2019.

"This time we want to hold talks with the American officials", said a Taliban leader based in Afghanistan, adding that they would discuss a USA withdrawal, prisoner exchange and the lifting of a ban on movement of their leaders. It has committed about $3 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since US-led forces toppled the Taliban regime after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Pakistani officials deny offering safe havens to the Afghan Taliban and say their influence on the group has waned over the years. The insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by US-led troops, called off a meeting with U.S. officials in Saudi Arabia this week because of Riyadh's insistence on bringing the Western-backed Afghan government to the table.

"We would never announce any ceasefire until and unless we achieve major gains on the ground".

There are indications Pakistan was pushing the Taliban to enter into direct talks with the Kabul government to resolve a conflict in Afghanistan now dragging into its seventeenth year, the head of Afghanistan's High Peace Council said on Wednesday in comments that marked a break from long-time accusations Islamabad was not doing enough to advance peace in the neighboring country. We had official security dialogue last week in Tehran.

Since the United States appointed Zalmay Khalilzad as the special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation and he established contact with the Taliban, a number of countries have launched parallel processes to reach out to the militants. As peace talks gain momentum a draft agreement drawn up by the influential USA think tank RAND Corporation outlining the clauses for a potential peace deal has been circulated among Afghan officials and diplomats in Kabul.

The U.S. embassy tweet said RAND's work was independent of the U.S. government and did not represent U.S. policy. It adds that the U.S. may continue providing civilian assistance and seek contributions from other donors.

"The United States supports the desire of the Afghan people and the global community for a political settlement that ends the 40-year conflict and ensures Afghanistan never again serves as a platform for worldwide terrorism", the State Department said.

The document suggests that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation shall end their current military missions in Afghanistan and withdraw all their personnel in three phases, over an expected period of 18 months, but adding that the USA civilian cooperation should continue in Afghanistan post deal.

"Any decision regarding the peace process in Afghanistan is supposed to be the authority of the Afghan government and the Afghan people". He has urged India to go beyond its existing role in supporting infrastructure development in the war-torn country, preferably by sending troops to improve the security situation in Afghanistan.

In 2001, Iran worked with the United States to help set up a new Afghan government to replace the Taliban, which had been toppled by a US -led military campaign following al Qaeda's September 11 attacks on USA cities. It has cost Washington almost a trillion dollars and killed tens of thousands of people.

The Taliban and the United States have cancelled the latest round of peace talks after it was unexpectedly moved to Qatar, citing disagreements over the agenda. "I don't think it has great impact because we have now fully developed the Afghan National Security Forces that is between 350, 000 to 400, 000 [troops]", he said.



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