Taliban say no pact struck with USA over peace plan

Elias Hubbard
November 20, 2018

The consultation is in line with the call by USA envoy Zalmay Khalilzad for the Afghan government and the Taliban to put together teams for eventual peace talks.

He also said that the Taliban might bring changes to its team of negotiators and that he remains "cautiously optimistic" and "hopeful" about the talks.

The Taliban have strengthened their grip over the past three years, with the government in Kabul controlling just 56 percent of Afghanistan, down from 72 percent in 2015, a US government report showed this month.

A separate report released by a USA government watchdog on Monday said there had been little progress toward reconciliation between July and September. The two individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the sensitive negotiations, AP reported. The releases are widely seen as a US-directed move aimed at encouraging the Taliban to participate in talks.

The two spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk about the discussions, reports Dhaka TribuneThey said, on Sunday, that former Taliban governor of Herat Khairullah Khairkhwa, and former Taliban military chief Mohammed Fazl both former inmates at the U.S. prison on Guantanamo Bay attended the talks.

The United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad has expressed hope that a truce would be reached with Taliban before Afghanistan's presidential elections due next year in April.

While TOLO news reported Khalilzad saying that the Taliban believes it can not win the war militarily.

November 18:In what could be perceived as a major setback to U.S military intervention in Afghanistan to contain Taliban, a high ranking official in the United States military has said that Taliban is ot losing in Afghanistan and the stalemate reached a year ago has not changed much.

Khairkhwa and Fazl were among five senior Taliban members released from the USA military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2014 in exchange for a captured US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl.

All five former Guantanamo Bay detainees are now based in Qatar and are thought to have enough influence with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to broker a peace deal.

US President Donald Trump had harshly criticised the 2014 prisoner exchange and in a speech last August pledged to send in additional troops and redouble efforts to defeat the Taliban. But that strategy has had little if any impact on the ground, with the Taliban keeping up a steady tempo of attacks and an Islamic State affiliate carrying out massive bombings targeting minority Shiites. The Afghan government is deeply opposed to any recognition of the Qatar office, which the Taliban in the past have billed as a government in exile.

Khalilzad has been touring the region in recent days, and reportedly met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday.

In a recent report, the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) cited the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Kabul as saying this summer's toll had been worse than ever for Afghan forces.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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