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Taliban: No ceasefire possible ahead of foreign troop withdrawal

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KABUL: Taliban have denied any ceasefire agreement, emphasizing on the “all foreign soldiers’ withdrawal” before any truce settlement.

A commander of the group has told Sky News that they want all foreign troops get out of Afghanistan, arguing that they consider Afghanistan invaded even by the presence of a single American soldier.

Former Taliban officials also urge that the militants would not hold intra-Afghan talks unless all foreign soldiers are out of the war-hit country.

Sources familiar with the US-Taliban peace negotiations held 10 times in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, told the Kabul News broadcaster that a delegation of the insurgents led by Maulavi Shahabuddin Delawar was back in Qatar after a visit to Pakistan cities of Peshawar and Quetta, where they consulted their leadership on a ceasefire demanded by the US chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad.

The delegation, according to the sources, was given more violence and large attack orders to Qatar. But other sources say that a delegation member Mullah Fazel was still in Quetta to consult on the ceasefire.

Reports said earlier that the insurgents had agreed with a short-term ceasefire, but the reports were denied by Taliban spokesman who emphasized on the withdrawal of American soldiers, a stance now urged by Taliban commanders.

Taliban commander, Maulavi Mansoor who has spoken to the Sky News, has expressed hope over a peace deal be signed, because he has said intra-Afghan talks would not be possible without the US peace deal.

Mansoor has emphasized that they would continue attacks on the foreigners to force foreign troops withdraw.

“Ceasefire is not possible by any means because the US military presence in Afghanistan means invasion. All the US troops should leave Afghanistan, if not, ceasefire is not possible. I am confident we will gain a peace settlement as the Americans have no choice but peace. If they (US) don’t agree with pull out, we will oust them by force.”

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