Conditions not ‘ripe’ yet for Taliban talks: Turkish officials

Conditions not ‘ripe’ yet for Taliban talks: Turkish officials

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Conditions not ‘ripe’ yet for Taliban talks: Turkish officials

Ex-Taliban militants stand with their weapons during a ceremony in Herat. REUTERS photo

The Turkish capital has assumed a rigorous approach to reports saying the Afghan government had expressed willingness to hold peace talks with the Taliban in either Saudi Arabia or Turkey rather than in Qatar, where the insurgents opened an office in June.

“The Afghan government has already been involved in negotiations with the Taliban. As Turkey, we have a certain stance built on principles; we would take such a request into consideration when delivered, if all parties involved agree on that,” Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday, a day after the Afghan government’s statement.

“At this point, it is too early to undertake any commitment,” the same sources said.

Turkey had been vocal in its interest for the establishment of a diplomatic presence for the Taliban to help with talks to end the war in Afghanistan. Gradually, Ankara, which has hosted talks aimed at building trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has assumed a more distanced stance on the idea, which was first floated in December 2010, during a trilateral summit between Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Istanbul, in which Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Kabul would welcome any offer by Turkey meant to facilitate talks with the Taliban.

“The government is committed and ready to proceed with peace talks with the Taliban seriously, and we are ready to start talks with the Taliban in one of the Islamic nations in the region,” Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Janan Mosazai was quoted as saying Aug. 11.

Peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar, Doha, were announced in June only to be canceled following Karzai’s anger over the Taliban displaying a banner and a flag harking back to their repressive rule over Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.