Afghan Taliban agrees to hold talks with US

ANI | Updated: Feb 27, 2018 18:22 IST

Kabul [Afghanistan], Feb 27 (ANI): The Afghan Taliban on Monday agreed to hold direct talks with the United States to achieve a "peaceful solution" to end the Afghanistan conflict.

In a written statement, the Taliban cited remarks by Alice Wells, the US deputy assistant secretary for South and Central Asia, regarding "keeping the doors of dialogue open for the Taliban."

"The Political Office of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan [Taliban] calls on American officials to talk directly to the Political Office of Islamic Emirate regarding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary," the statement said.

"The Taliban also urged the US to accept the legitimate demands of the Afghan people and forward its own concerns and requests for discussion to the Islamic Emirate through a peaceful channel," the statement added.

The Taliban underscored that the conflict in Afghanistan could not be solved militarily and that it wanted the US forces and its allies to withdraw from the war-torn country, TOLOnews reported.

"America must henceforth focus on a peaceful strategy for Afghanistan instead of war. Military strategies which have repeatedly been tested in Afghanistan over the past 17 years will only intensify and prolong the war. And this is not in the interest of anyone," the statement said.

Earlier this month, The Taliban published an open letter to the US citizens and US Congress saying that the insurgents could be ready for talks.

The negotiations are unusual for the militant group, which has repeatedly stated that it will not enter talks until foreign troops leave the country.

Unveiling his new Afghan strategy in August last year, US President Donald Trump said its presence in Afghanistan would remain open-ended and vowed to "crush" the Taliban, as Washington stepped up strikes on militant strongholds in the country.

Last month, Trump ruled out holding talks with the Taliban, after a series of deadly terror attacks in Afghanistan, that has killed over 150 people, especially in the capital Kabul.

The city is set to host the Kabul Process Conference, which would see the participation of nearly 23 countries like India and Pakistan and various international bodies like the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

The meeting aims to secure support for an agreement to end backing of cross-border terrorism and to find a peaceful solution in ending the decades-long insurgency in Afghanistan. (ANI)