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Kabul ready for open-ended talks with Taliban: Zakhilwal

Kabul ready for open-ended talks with Taliban: Zakhilwal

Jan 31, 2017 - 08:38

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Ashraf Ghani administration is ready for open-ended peace negotiations with the Talibaninfo-icon, Afghanistaninfo-icon’s ambassador to Pakistaninfo-icon says.

In an interview with a Chinese news outlet on Monday, Dr. Omar Zakhilwal confirmed the Afghan government’s contacts with the Taliban’s political bureau in Qatar.

He told Xinhua in Islamabad on Monday: "We are also in touch with a number of influential Taliban leaders and commanders." However, he said formal talks were yet to begin.

Asked if the militant movement had set any terms for dialogue, he replied: "The Taliban could bring any proposal to the negotiating table but we have ruled out preconditions."

Reopening of their political office in Qatar, lifting of UN sanctions against senior leaders of the group, withdrawal of foreign troops and release of prisoners are Taliban’s main conditions.

The ambassador said the Afghan government was open to all opportunities for peace talks. “We can find our way with the Taliban if externalinfo-icon support to them stops.”

He added the ongoing insurgency necessitated a foreign troop presence in the country. There would be no reason for their stay in our country if the war came to an end, he argued.

If the Taliban genuinely desired the withdrawal of US and NATOinfo-icon soldiers, peace talks would pave the way for their departure, the ambassador continued.




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