Taliban rejected direct talks with the Afghan government as the state minister for peace affairs Abdulsalam Rahimi announced Saturday night that intra-Afghan talks will begin in the coming weeks.

Taliban rejected direct talks with the Afghan government as the state minister for peace affairs Abdulsalam Rahimi announced Saturday night that intra-Afghan talks will begin in the coming weeks.
“Intra-Afghan talks will start only after a foreign force withdrawal is announced,” said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar.
Abdul Salam Rahimi, the state minister for peace affairs said earlier that the ministry has started consultations with different stakeholders on forming a 15-member negotiating team who will lead the peace talks with the Taliban.

Members of the team will include some delegates of the recent Doha meeting and also people with peace and negotiations background, he said, adding that members of the team will represent different layers of society including religious scholars, women and civil society members.
According to Mr Rahimi, the talks will be held at one of the European countries.

However, the Taliban said that even then, the group would not negotiate directly with the government, but rather with a wide range of Afghans that could include government officials.
““We will not sit and talk with the Kabul administration as a government,” Zabihullah Mujahid, who introduces himself as Taliban spokesman said.

The U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said after Rahimi had made his announcement that talks between the Taliban and Afghans would happen after the United States “concludes its own agreement” with the Taliban.


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