Kabul: The Taliban militia leading a 10-year
insurgency in Afghanistan on Wednesday denied that they would soon
hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai`s government in Saudi Arabia.
"There is no truth in these published reports saying that
the delegation of the Islamic Emirate would meet with
representatives of the Karzai government in Saudi Arabia in
the near future," the Taliban said on their website.
Afghan officials, requesting anonymity, had suggested
that the two sides would hold talks in Saudi Arabia separate
from planned negotiations in Qatar between the Taliban and the United States.
In Kabul yesterday, however, a government spokesman
cautioned that no steps had been taken to start talks in Saudi
"The Afghan government is very clear on talks -- we have
always preferred Saudi to Qatar," Akim Hasher, head of the
Government Media and Information Centre, said.
"There is a possibility that the talks will take place in
Saudi as well -- Qatar is definitely not the only option."
Taliban negotiators have begun preliminary discussions
with the United States in Qatar on plans for peace talks aimed
at ending the decade-long war.
They have also announced plans to set up an office in
But in their statement today the Taliban said they had
not yet "reached the negotiation phase with the US and its
allies". "Before there are negotiations there should be a
trust-building phase, which has not begun yet."