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No peace talks until US withdraws, says Taliban


Islamabad : The Taliban in Afghanistan has rejected media reports that the outfit had called for reconciliation talks with the US and demanded “unconditional withdrawal of all invading forces from the country”.

No peace talks would begin until there was a complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, a statement from the militant outfit said Tuesday, adding that Mullah Omar would not resign as its leader.

“The Islamic emirate of Afghanistan emphasises its unwavering stand regarding talks with the Americans and considers the unconditional withdrawal of all invading forces from Afghanistan a prerequisite for talks and negotiations with the Americans,” the statement said.

“Talks with America in the presence of foreign forces would mean giving their invasion legitimacy.”

The Taliban also said the US presence in Afghanistan was the main reason for “instability” in the region.

“So any deal under the name of negotiation is a betrayal of the Islamic aspirations of the people of Afghanistan,” it said.

The Taliban was reacting to reports in the British newspaper, The Sunday Times, which said the outfit was ready to take part in peace talks.

“The Sunday Times published the report against all codes of journalism, on the basis of two unknown and alleged members of the leadership council of the Islamic Emirate (Afghanistan),” the statement said.

International media reports were part of a campaign to malign the Taliban. Only two spokesman have been appointed to speak to the media and all reports should be “verified” with them.