Taliban pour cold water on Afghan invitation | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 02, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:27 AM, March 02, 2018

MOVE TO RECOGNISE INSURGENTS AS PARTY

Taliban pour cold water on Afghan invitation

The Taliban yesterday issued a cool response to proposals that they should begin peace talks with the Afghan government, a day after President Ashraf Ghani offered a pact to recognise the insurgents as a legitimate party in negotiations.

The movement has not yet given any formal answer to Ghani's invitation, made at a conference of officials from countries in the so-called Kabul Process aimed at creating a platform for talks to end more than 16 years of war.

But its chief spokesman did reply to an "Open Letter" published this week in the New Yorker magazine by Barnett Rubin, a respected commentator on Afghan politics, who urged the Taliban to accept talks with the Kabul government, reported Reuters.

"Our country has been occupied, which has led to an American-style supposed Afghan government being imposed upon us," the Taliban response said.

"And your view that we talk to them and accept their legitimacy is the same formula adopted by America to win the war," it said, adding that the Kabul Process was simply aimed at seeking the "surrender" of the Taliban.

The comments come a month after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in which an ambulance packed with explosives blew up in Kabul, killing around 100 people, in the worst attack seen in months.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif yesterday extended support to Kabul's proposed political process seeking to recognise the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and said Pakistan is ready for one-on-one talks with the Afghan Taliban, reported Dawn Online.

Afghan officials said yesterday a German national has been arrested with the Taliban in Afghanistan's insurgency-racked Helmand province, reported AFP.

The man, who calls himself Abdul Wadood and was pictured wearing a black turban with a long, reddish beard, identified himself as a German resident of Frankfurt and spoke German, provincial officials and the Afghan army have said.

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