Afghan official urges Taliban to join peace talks



Osaka: A senior Afghan government official asked the Taliban to join peace talks during a meeting in Kyoto, western Japan, but a Taliban official at the meeting refused the offer, local media reported on Thursday.

At the Wednesday meeting, organized by Doshisha University in Kyoto, Mohammad Masoon Stanekzai, security advisor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said both sides need to be committed to preventing Afghanistan from sliding back into civil war.

He also stressed the need for a peace process that includes all parties, Japan''s public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) reported.

But Taliban senior official Din Mohammad said his group will not sit down for talks until U.S. and other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan first.

The Taliban suspended secret peace talks with the United States in March. It also refuses talks with the Afghan government.

The meeting was the first of its kind to include a senior Taliban official. It came ahead of an international conference in support of Afghanistan scheduled for July 8 in Tokyo, NHK quoted university officials as saying.

ANI