xi's moments
Home | Middle East

Taliban refuse to talk to new Afghan government

China Daily | Updated: 2020-03-30 09:37

Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers arrive at the site of last night clashes between Taliban and Afghan forces in Kunduz, Afghanistan, on March 4, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

KABUL-The Taliban have declined to begin talks with the Afghan government's new negotiating team in a setback to the US-brokered peace process for one of the world's longest-running conflicts.

Spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the militants could not talk to the 21-member team named on Thursday because it was not constituted taking into account all parties.

The team is headed by Masoom Stanekzai, a former security chief and supporter of President Ashraf Ghani, and includes politicians, former officials and representatives of civil society. Five members are women.

"In order to reach true and lasting peace, the aforementioned team must be agreed upon by all effective Afghan sides so that it can represent all sides," Mujahid said on Saturday.

The United States, which ousted the Taliban from power in 2001, signed a troop withdrawal deal with the group last month.

But progress on moving to talks between the militants and the Afghan government has been delayed by a feud between Afghan politicians and disagreement between the Taliban and the government prisoner releases and a possible ceasefire.

Afghan ministry of peace affairs spokeswoman Najia Anwari said the Taliban stance was "unjustified" as the negotiating team was made after wide consultations among Afghan society.

Ghani's political rival Abdullah Abdullah had not confirmed whether he would support the delegation, potentially important given his camp's strong influence in the north and west.

'Illogical excuses'

Abdullah's spokesman Fraidoon Khwazoon said that though the announced list was not final and there were "considerations that needed to be addressed", it should not be rejected outright.

"All sides including the Taliban should try not to lose the available opportunity for peace by making illogical excuses. The Taliban should not lose the current opportunity."

The US embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed to mediate between Abdullah and Ghani to create an inclusive government during a visit to Kabul on Monday, and announced a $1 billion cut in US aid to Afghanistan, which he said could be reversed.

On Sunday, militants affiliated with the Taliban group overran Yamgan district in the northern Badakhshan province, said Mohboub Rahman Talat, a provincial council member.

The Taliban fighters launched multi-pronged offensive and overran the headquarters of Yamgan district on Saturday, forcing district officials to move to neighboring Kuran-wa-Munjan district, Talat said. The Taliban would attack Kuran-Wa-Munjan district if security forces failed to recapture Yamgan district, he said. Security officials provided no comment on that.

The Taliban outfit previously captured Yamgan district in 2015 but lost it to government forces last year.

At least 13 Taliban militants were confirmed dead as Afghan forces pounded Taliban hideouts in the western Ghoon on Saturday, said an army statement issued on Sunday.

The security forces from the ground and air stormed the militants' hideouts when they were planning to launch massive offensives at security checkpoints to capture Shahrak district of the restive province. No security personnel and civilians had been harmed during the raids, the statement said.

Taliban militants provided no comment.

Agencies via Xinhua

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349