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Either embrace peace or face elimination: Government told Taliban

AT-KABUL: Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Office has warned the Taliban militants to join the peace parleys or they would face elimination.

The tough statement came after Taliban rejected a religious scholars’ meeting in Indonesia. The meeting initiated by Indonesian government, was scheduled to be held this month with over 50 clerics from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Indonesia participating. The meeting would discuss ways to help Afghan peace program.

The chief executive spokesman said that the group has never decided independently and has been under Pakistan’s command.

“If the Taliban do not join the peace talks, they will be eliminated,” Mojib Rahimi said. He added that intensive military operations would be launched against “terrorist groups” in the near future.

“We have said that we will hold unconditional talks with the Taliban to bring peace. Taliban have two options: either they come to peace process or be eliminated,” Rahimi said.

He said that representatives from the people, government and clerics were planned to attend the Jakarta meeting.

President Ashraf Ghani had earlier said that he would be ready to talk to the Taliban without any preconditions. He has also said that the talks could take place anywhere either inside or outside the country.

Taliban refused to hold talks with the government and said they would like to talk to the United States.

Kai Eide, former UN envoy for Afghanistan called Taliban’s suggestion “logical”, saying the Afghan war strategy was prepared in the United States.

But, a US diplomat, Alice Wells said that she was not sure if Taliban were united and independent, asking the militants to demonstrate their unity.

“The best way the Taliban can demonstrate their unity is that they should join the peace talks from a certain address,” Wells said.

Head of the High Peace Council, Mohammad Karim Khalili said that he doesn’t see any sign of Taliban’s interest in the peace talks.

Political analysts say that foreign countries should cooperate with the Afghan peace process. They ask the countries involved in Afghan affairs to mediate between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

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