Taliban Cancels Peace Talks with US over Potential Involvement of Afghanistan

Blanche Robertson
January 9, 2019

"Both sides have agreed to not meet in Qatar", senior Taliban members based in Afghanistan told Reuters. The Taliban jihadis stressed that they would not allow "puppet" Afghan officials to participate.

Shamkhani's comments came days after reports of talks between US and Taliban officials over proposals for a ceasefire in Afghanistan and a future withdrawal of foreign troops ahead of possible peace negotiations.

The Taliban wanted a United States withdrawal, a prisoner exchange and a lifting of the ban on movement of their leaders, one told Reuters. "The meeting will continue for two days", a senior member of the Taliban said on condition of anonymity.

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.

He said there also was disagreement on a possible cease-fire deal and a proposed prisoner exchange.

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

Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will lead an interagency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from January 8 - 21, twice after skipping Delhi in recent months.

USA officials were not immediately available to comment on the report. It has maintained that any peace process and negotiation on Afghanistan has to be an Afghan-led process.

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Another Taliban source told Reuters the disagreement focused on Washington's insistence that Afghan government officials must be involved in the talks.

"The Taliban, Afghanistan's largest armed group which was toppled from power by a US-led invasion in 2001, called off their meeting with the USA officials in Saudi Arabia this week following Riyadh's insistence a span of four months are a clear proof of Pakistan's strong support for Afghanistan", Daudzai was quoted as saying.

Majority-Shi'ite Iran has long had close ties to Shi'ites in neighboring Afghanistan whose militias have fought the Taliban's Sunni militants. It has cost Washington almost $1 trillion and killed tens of thousands of people.

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. Pakistan denies the claim.

The United States, which sent troops to Afghanistan in the wake of the 11 September, 2001, attacks on NY and Washington and at the peak of the deployment had more than 100,000 troops in the country, withdrew most of its forces in 2014, but still keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission aiding Afghan security forces and hunting militants.

The document, reviewed by Reuters, suggests that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation withdraw their military missions in phases over an expected period of 18 months, but the United States may continue providing civilian assistance.

It keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission aiding Afghan security forces and hunting militants. It adds that the United States may continue providing civilian assistance.

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