Bangkok Post

Peace talks hit another roadblock

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KABUL: The Taliban on Saturday rejected an Afghan government negotiatio­n team set up to hold talks with the insurgent group in a bid to end the country’s 18-yearold conflict.

After months of delays, the government on Friday had announced a 21-member team — including five women — to take part in the upcoming talks, a crucial step in bringing the warring parties to the table and getting a flounderin­g, US-led peace process back on track.

But the Taliban in a statement said the government had failed to put forward an “inclusive” team.

“We shall only sit for talks with a negotiatio­n team that conforms with our agreements and is constitute­d in accordance with the laid out principles,” the statement said.

“In order to reach true and lasting peace, the aforementi­oned team must be agreed upon by all effective Afghan sides,” it said, adding that the majority of those involved in the “intra-Afghan” talks had rejected the team, without specifying which parties.

Under a deal signed by the US and the Taliban last month, the insurgents agreed to resume talks with the Afghan government and discuss a possible ceasefire.

In return, the US and foreign partner forces agreed to withdraw from Afghanista­n over the next 14 months.

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