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Taliban seek dialogue with US; “If you are Afghan, talk with Afghans”

By Farhad Naibkhel;KABUL: The militant Taliban have sought to enter peace dialogue with the U.S. government, in the wake of calls for closure of their Qatar diplomatic office. This comes as the militant group has repetitively refused the offers of the Afghan government for direct talks.

The Afghan government has often called on the Taliban to send their envoys and join Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace dialogue in order to reach to a durable solution to the decades-lasting war – which has taken its toll on the innocent Afghans including women and children.

In the recent days after the U.S. came up with an agenda to close the Taliban’s Doha office, the militant group now solicits direct dialogue with the Americans – an analogy to asking for the key to a house from a stranger, not its owner.

After the Taliban’s statement seeking peace negotiations with the U.S., the Afghan government once again called on them to parley with Afghans. “The government of Afghanistan calls on the Taliban to negotiate with Afghans if they think of themselves as Afghans,” said the presidential spokesperson Haroon Chakhansori. At a press conference on Tuesday, he said that if the Taliban have the will to negotiate, then they have to enter dialogue with the Afghan government directly.

Pointing to the Taliban’s recent statement soliciting negotiations with the U.S., Chakhansori said that the U.S. has reject this call and urged the Taliban to instead negotiate with the Afghan government.

“The Afghan government has never declared that the doors to peace are closed; rather the peace mechanism is clear and the Taliban must follow it,” he said, “We will present a clear path for peace for the Taliban in the Kabul process conference stipulated for Wednesday”.

In a statement, the political office of the Taliban said the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia – Alice Wells – had remarked that the United States has kept the doors of dialogue open for the Taliban; asking the U.S. to clarify its message. The statement called on the American officials to talk directly to the Taliban regarding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary, claiming that such initiative would help in finding a solution if the U.S. accepts the legitimate demands of the Afghan people and forwards its own concerns and requests for discussion to the militant group through a peaceful channel.

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