The Taliban said on Sunday they will not hold direct talks with Afghan government and rejected a statement from the State Minister for Peace about plans to hold such a meeting within the next two weeks in a European capital.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a tweet on Sunday that the talks will be held among all parties and that the Afghan government will attend as a participant, not as other side of the talks.
Mujahid said the intra-Afghan negotiations will happen after the announcement of a timetable for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.
The Taliban statement comes as the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad clarified that the talks will happen after the United States “concludes its own agreement” with the Taliban.
On Saturday evening, the State Minister for Peace Abdul Salam Rahimi said that direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban will start within the next two weeks and that it will be held in a European country.
Khalilzad also clarified in a tweet that the negotiations “will take place between the Taliban and an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women.
Rahimi said on Saturday that they have started consultations with different stakeholders on forming a 15-member negotiating team who will lead the peace talks with the Taliban.
Rahimi called on the warring sides to reduce the level of violence ahead of the direct talks.