• publish: 16 October 2015
  • time: 2:02 pm
  • category: Politics
  • No: 1744
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Taliban offer willingness to resume peace talks

Afghan Taliban signaled on Thursday their willingness to resume dialogue for a political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan, but insisted that their conditions for the withdrawal of foreign forces and establishment of an Islamic government should be met for the process to start.

“To end fighting, we are ready to initiate meaningful negotiations with all sides concerned,” a statement issued by the militant group said.

The statement came in response to President Barack Obama’s announcement on changes in US troops’ withdrawal plan.

Mr. Obama, who initially planned to withdraw remaining US soldiers from Afghanistan by the end of this year, said the current level of US troops in Afghanistan would be maintained through the end of 2017.

“Occupation should be ended in all its shapes, an Islamic government should be established on the consensus of Afghans and interference of foreigners should be ended in the internal affairs of Afghanistan,” the Taliban statement said.

“We believe that when Afghans are convinced regarding the end of occupation and withdrawal of foreign troops, then all problems could be easily solved through intra-Afghan understanding and dialogue,” it added.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had said a few days ago that his government had renewed efforts for restarting the Afghan dialogue.

Adviser to Pakistani PM on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz, meanwhile, has expressed optimism that decline in insurgency during winter could provide an opportunity for the resumption of talks.

Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesman Qazi Khalilullah, speaking at the weekly media briefing, said: “We support peace and security in Afghanistan because that is also in the vital interest of Pakistan. We support intra-Afghan dialogue, that is given. We hosted the first round and we always remain ready to host another round if the Afghan government wants that. We firmly believe that this is the way forward, this is the way to bring peace in Afghanistan.”

Afghanistan would be one of the major agenda items during Pakistan prime minister’s meeting with President Obama at the White House on Oct 22.

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