Taliban deny plan for Saudi talks with Afghan govt
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 22:08
  
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 Arabia.

"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 Doha.

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."

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, February 01, 2012, 22:08


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