No plans to revive talks with Taliban, Afghanistan says

(iStock)
(iStock)

Kabul - Afghanistan has no plans to revive a peace process aimed at bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table after a four-nation effort earlier this year produced no results, the spokesperson of the Afghan president said on Thursday.

Haroon Chakhansuri, President Ashraf Ghani's spokesperson, said the four-nation group - comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States - has no plans to meet again anytime soon.

The group has met five times since January, in Kabul and Pakistan. The meetings did not include the Taliban, who have refused to join peace talks.

"There is no set time for another meeting of the group," Chakhansuri told The Associated Press.

Chakhansuri's remarks reflect the Kabul administration's disappointment over what it has described as half-hearted efforts by neighbouring Pakistan to jumpstart the peace process. Ghani has accused Islamabad of harbouring Taliban leaders - an accusation that Islamabad denies.

Afghanistan continues to suffer from "terrorist groups that operate from and have a support base in Pakistan," Chakhansuri said.

Ghani took office in 2014 promising peace and began overtures to Islamabad aimed at ending the war. Following a number of large-scale suicide attacks in Kabul, Ghani cut the dialogue with Pakistan, demanding Islamabad cease support for the Taliban and its close affiliate, the Haqqani network.

President Barack Obama earlier this month scrapped plans to significantly cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan to 5 500 at the end of the year, though reducing the number slightly through 2017. The move was widely seen as acknowledging the deteriorating security situation since the withdrawal in 2014 of most international combat troops.

A senior Pakistani security official familiar with the Afghan peace process echoed Chakhansuri's statement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.

"The peace talks between the Taliban and Kabul are not likely to resume soon," he said, adding that "neither the Taliban nor Afghan government is interested in reviving" the talks.

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