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Taliban call off peace talks with U.S

10 January 2019

The Taliban jihadis stressed that they would not allow "puppet" Afghan officials to participate.

Iran says they are holding parallel talks with the Taliban.

According to the Afghan envoy, no final talks have taken place between the United States and Taliban thus far, which is why they are refusing to hold a meeting with the Afghan government. Zarif said it was up to Afghans to decide what role the Taliban should have but Afghanistan's neighbours would not want them to be in overall control.

Daudzai landed in Islamabad for wide-ranging talks on Tuesday amid an intensification of peace efforts by the USA and other regional powers to seek a negotiated settled to the conflict between the Afghan government and the insurgency.

The announcements of his visit to the region came amid reports that Trump plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Afghanistan, which depends on the U.S. and other foreign powers for military support and training.

United States special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. It keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission aiding Afghan security forces and hunting militants.

While denying it made a specific overture to Shamkani, the spokeswoman repeated that Trump is open to a dialog with Iran on "urgent national security issues" and wants Tehran to "make fundamental changes in their destructive behavior". "The only thing that is still needed to be developed is our air power", he added.

"Earlier, Taliban had refused to allow inclusion of representative of Afghanistan government despite requests from both Pakistan and Afghanistan".

In a message sent to Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, through his special envoy, President of Afghanistan recently appreciated Pakistan's efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan and sought his help to broker direct talks between Afghanistan and Taliban.

When asked why the Taliban do not want to hold talks with the Afghan government, Daudzai said it was a longstanding desire of the Taliban to first negotiate with the U.S. and later with the Afghan government.

Daudzai was hopeful that the prospects for peace were stronger than ever before due to changes within the thinking of the Taliban, mostly due to worldwide exposure and the impact of social media.

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"There are layers [within the Taliban] that are rethinking the whole situation", Daudzai said.

"If they violate the constitution again under the pretext of peace, once more there will be bullying and victimization", said Sima Samar, chairperson of Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). "Social media has [had a] great impact on Taliban thinking".

"He will meet senior government officials in each country to facilitate an intra-Afghan political settlement".

This is Khalilzad's first trip to India after he was appointed as the Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation a year ago. "Within 2019, InshAllah (god willing), we will reach to a final peace deal".

Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad will lead an interagency delegation to India, China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan from January 8 - 21, twice after skipping Delhi in recent months.

"Special representative Khalilzad will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering the Afghan people to chart a shared course for their nation's future", it said.

Sources close to the Taliban leadership revealed to Al Arabiya English that Taliban may back off from peace talks if both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia insist on including Afghanistan government. Several rounds of meetings have also been held in Beijing.

"Peace and stability in Afghanistan was in Pakistan's own best national interest, and necessary for economic development".

Talks with the Taliban have since been taking place elsewhere in Doha.

"All initiatives should be done in consultation, in conjunction, with the legitimate state of Afghanistan. So if we have that driving seat, then okay, that's not a problem", he said. "United States is seeking assurance from the Taliban that it should not face any threats from the Afghan soil in the future", he added.

Taliban call off peace talks with U.S