`US, Taliban prisoner release talks fail in Qatar’
Washington: The initial talks between the US and Taliban in Qatar on the release of five of the militant group`s prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention centre have failed, a media report said on Monday.
The failure of the talks is being attributed mainly to the refusal of Taliban to accept the US demand of a ceasefire before these five Taliban prisoners could be released, the MSNBC news reported quoting its sources in Taliban.
For record sake, the United States has neither confirmed nor denied the reports of such a peace talks with Taliban. Special US Representatives for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, was recently in Qatar, which is being widely speculated for such talks, but the State Department has kept quiet on the issue so far.
"According to the sources, the US demanded that Taliban announce a ceasefire in Afghanistan before any prisoner swap, which they said their central leadership had turned down," MSNBC news reported in its news dispatch from Islamabad.
According to the report, the US was willing to release five Taliban leaders currently in prison in Guantanamo in exchange of release of American soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, captured by Taliban militants in Afghanistan`s Paktika province in June 2009, bordering Pakistan`s South Waziristan.
"Our stance is the same. We will announce a ceasefire when the foreign forces start their withdrawal from Afghanistan," a Taliban source was quoted as saying.
Earlier, former minister of vice and virtue for the Taliban, Maulavi Qalamuddin, had said "there are no peace talks going on”.
"The only thing is the negotiations over release of Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo, which is still under discussion between both sides in Qatar. We also want to strengthen the talks so we can create an environment of trust for further talks in the future," he had said.
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