Taliban brought up foreign troops' presence issue: Afghan government
In their first official meeting with Afghan government representatives, the Taliban brought out issues regarding presence of international troops, UN sanctions and insurgents in captivity.
Kabul: In their first official meeting with Afghan government representatives, the Taliban brought out issues regarding presence of international troops, UN sanctions and insurgents in captivity.
Afghanistan`s Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations, Hekmat Jalil Karzai, spoke on Thursday at a press conference in Kabul, about discussions with the Taliban over the last two days in Pakistan, Efe news agency reported.
The issues will be taken up again during the next round of talks, possibly in China, after the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, around the middle of the month.
"The problem of prisoners, list of UN sanctions, foreign troops and other problems were included in the topics for discussion," said Jalil, who was a member of the High Peace council that participated in the meeting in Pakistan`s hill resort of Murree near Islamabad.
He added the Afghan government has not put down conditions for the talks.
Faizulah Zaki, another member of the Afghan delegation, said they were ready to discuss any topic except matters related to the nature of the political system (republican) and fundamental rights of its citizens.
Jalil said the participation of the insurgents had the blessings of Mullah Ajtar Muhamad Mansour, the second-in-command of the Taliban.
Several analysts told the Afghan media, not all factions of the Taliban were present in the meeting, especially representatives from its Qatar wing.
"There may be differences among the Taliban, but they will have to discuss that themselves," Jalil said, adding he hoped to meet with representatives from all factions of the Taliban.
He dismissed reports of any possible ceasefire between the two parties, but added they discussed cessation of hostilities on Eid-ul Fitr, the day marking the end of Ramadan.
At the same press conference, leader of the Afghan delegation, Din Mohammed, confirmed the presence of a representative from the Haqqani network, which controls wide regions in southeastern Afghanistan and has been accused of numerous attacks, at the meeting.
However, Hezb-i-Islami, another significant Taliban faction, did not participate in the talks.
This first official meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban follows informal meetings between them in Qatar and Norway over the last few months and amid the spring offensive, which has led to an increase in attacks around the country.