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Taliban nix lasting peace before political agreement: US envoy for Afghan peace

Taliban nix lasting peace before political agreement: US envoy for Afghan peace

DPA
KABUL
As violence escalates across Afghanistan, the US envoy for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, said the Taliban would not accept a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire until a political settlement has been reached with the Afghan government.
Speaking with the US broadcaster PBS on Friday night, Khalilzad said that the militants could, however, reduce their attacks in the meantime.
“I think they can do a reduction of violence. They have said they will consider it, depending on what the proposal is. The government is supportive of it, too,” he said.
When asked why the militants have not yet publicly cut ties with the terror network of Al Qaeda as set out in their deal with the US, Khalilzad said that Washington will assess the situation in the next couple of months after the number of its troops in Afghanistan fell to 4,000-5,000 from the current level of 8,500.
The comments came as dozens of members of the Afghan security forces were killed or wounded across the country in non-stop Taliban attacks.
Only on Wednesday, the Taliban killed 28 members of the security forces in southern Uruzgan province even after they laid down their guns.
On Saturday, the Taliban claimed to have killed a number of troops in central Bamyan and north-eastern Badakhshan provinces.
A spokesman for the group, Zabiullah Mujahid, also posted photos of their fighters in north-eastern Panjshir province, an area considered the centre of anti-Taliban resistance during the 1990s.
The Afghan teams have not yet been able to finalise a negotiating method even after two weeks of talks in Doha.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in a telephone conversation that his country supports the ceasefire, which is the main demand of the Afghan government in the peace talks, according to a statement issued on Friday evening.

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