AFGHAN Taliban officials say they are ready for a second round of talks with the US, to focus on prisoner exchanges, confidence-building measures and how to move from back-door meetings to formal negotiations.
They recounted details of a meeting held in July with top US regional envoy Alice Wells.
Both Washington and the Kabul government have insisted that talks on Afghanistan’s future would be Afghan-led, with direct talks between Washington and the Taliban a stepping stone towards Afghan-to-Afghan talks.
The Taliban want direct talks to settle US concerns about their participation in Afghanistan’s future as well as the presence of Nato and the US in the country.
At the July meeting, the Taliban asked for recognition of their political office in Qatari capital Doha and an end to restrictions against its top leaders before the start of the formal negotiations.
They repeated their longstanding demand for prisoners to be released, claiming 2,000 are being held.
The fundamentalist group was overthrown by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 but has continued its war against the invaders and the government set up in its place. In December 2016 the US military admitted that 10 per cent of Afghanistan was in Taliban hands while another 26 of the country was contested between the Afghan government and various insurgency groups.
Washington has been exercised by the fate of two prisoners held by the Taliban — Kevin King from the US and Australian Timothy Weeks, both professors at the American University in Kabul when captured in August 2016 as they returned to their compound.
The Taliban denied any involvement today in a suicide bombing that targeted a group of people protesting against a local police commander in eastern Afghanistan yesterday.
Provincial government spokesman Attahullah Khogyani said that the death toll has risen to 68, with a further 165 wounded in the attack.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.