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Taliban: Foreign Troops Must Leave Before Peace Talks

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Afghanistan’s Taliban demands the foreign troops’ departure from the country before starting formal peace talks. The Taliban delegation laid out their conditions for peace talk in a meeting with people close to the Afghan government on Sunday.

“As long as foreign forces are in Afghanistan, peace and stability is impossible,” said Mohammad Naim Wardak, a member of Taliban envoy. He also added that they will do everything for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and to establish an Islamic system.

Another demand made by the Taliban is the release of political prisoners. Taliban had started the campaign to bring down the Kabul Government from last year. According to Mail Online, the government is already struggling, as most of the foreign troops had left the country.

Taliban is demanding the release of an unnamed list of prisoners. They are also demanding their names to be removed from the UN blacklist which has freeze their assets and imposed a travel ban on their leaders.

A statement released by the Taliban insisted that these are the preliminary steps which should be taken before the  talk and without them no progress towards peace is possible.

This is the first time that representatives of the Taliban had a mandate to lead peace efforts. The representative of the Taliban and former Afghan officials had a meeting in Doha, Qatar at a conference organized by the Pugwash on Science and World Affairs.

According to Market Watch, the Afghan government opposed the event and also attempted to prevent it. Reportedly, it had done so,  fearing intrusion with simultaneous Pakistan-broken efforts to resume peace talks. The government in its statement complained that the Taliban had been given unwarranted legitimacy and also affirmed that foreign troops had a legal right to stay in Afghanistan.

Zafar Hashemi, an Afghan government spokesperson said, “the government is open to talking with Taliban groups and is ready to discuss their concerns, but for the Taliban to set condition for talks is unacceptable”.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s informal adviser and his uncle Qayyum Kochai, who was present in the conference, commented, “We have all expressed our opinion and encouraged the Taliban to go and talk to the government… Why should the government send representatives if they are not ready to talk?”

Although, efforts have been made to restart talks, the Taliban has continued with its violent activities which raise questions over the success of the talk.

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