Taliban reiterates call for direct talks with US
KABUL: The Afghan Taliban on Tuesday reiterated its willingness to hold direct talks with the US.
This comes two weeks after the Taliban, in an unprecedented move, made a similar call in an open letter to the US public and politicians.
The group says it wants direct talks with the US because it, not Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, has the influence, and because it was America that toppled the Taliban government.
In reiterating its willingness, the group cited Alice Wells, principal deputy assistant secretary in the US State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, who recently said the “door is open” for talks.
The Taliban said in a statement: “For ending the occupation, we want a peaceful resolution to the Afghan issue.” It added that the US must focus on a “peaceful strategy for Afghanistan instead of war.”
The Taliban said: “Military strategies which have repeatedly been tested in Afghanistan over the past 17 years will only intensify and prolong the war. And this is not in the interest of anyone.”
The group’s reiterated call for talks comes the day before a regional conference in Kabul, where representatives from 25 countries will discuss counterterrorism and conflict resolution.
“I’m confident that the conference is going to push forward regional efforts to enforce what has been our most important message to the Taliban — that the door is open, there is a path to peace and stability,” said Wells.
Ghani on Tuesday said his government will propose an inclusive proposal to Pakistan and the Taliban during the conference.
The Taliban urged the US to focus on a peaceful strategy for Afghanistan instead of war. (AP)