Taliban denies plan for peace talks

Taliban denies plan for peace talks

Taliban denies plan for peace talks

Former Taliban militants pose with their rifles during a ceremony in Kabul. Taliban says no peace negotiation process was agreed upon with the international community. AP photo

The Taliban denied yesterday that they would soon hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government in Saudi Arabia and said no peace negotiation process agreed with international community, particularly the U.S. 

“There is no truth in these published reports saying that the delegation of the Islamic Emirate would meet with representatives of the Karzai government in Saudi Arabia in the near future,” the Taliban said on their website. Afghan officials, requesting anonymity, had suggested that the two sides would hold talks in Saudi Arabia separate from planned negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the United States. In Kabul on Jan. 31, however, a government spokesman cautioned that no steps had been taken to start talks in Saudi Arabia. “The Afghan government is very clear on talks -- we have always preferred Saudi to Qatar,” Akim Hasher, head of the Government Media and Information Centre, said. 

Taliban negotiators have begun preliminary discussions with the United States in Qatar on plans for peace talks aimed at ending the decade-long war. But in their statement yesterday the Taliban said they had not yet “reached the negotiation phase with the U.S. and its allies.”

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.

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