05 February 2020 - 10:02
News ID: 448854
A
The Afghan Taliban militant group says the United States has “harmed” negotiations that have been going on and off between the two sides.

RNA - In a post on Twitter on Tuesday, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militant group “has the intention & capacity for a resolution” that could see the US end its war on Afghanistan but that the US was hampering talks.

“Negotiation process has been harmed by Trump's tweet, numerous US demands & quarrel b/w US & Kabul officials. @SecPompeo should refrain from blame-shifting. Our stance in principled & concerted - unlike them,” he said. It was not clear what tweet the group was referring to.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded “demonstrable evidence” from the Taliban that they have the capacity to reduce violence before signing any deal to end America’s longest war.

Pompeo said that a deal was close but that the US and Taliban had been close before and failed because the militant group was unable to demonstrate that they were committed to reducing violence.

Taliban sources said last month they had offered to initiate a brief ceasefire of seven to 10 days to help secure a deal.

The US had been largely quiet on the exact status of the negotiations over the past few months. But US special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul last week that there had been “no notable progress” in the talks with the Taliban.

In recent days, Khalilzad, who is leading negotiations with the Taliban, has launched a new round of shuttle diplomacy by travelling to Pakistan and Afghanistan to brief officials on the status of the talks.

Islamabad has helped facilitate the talks between the Afghan Taliban and Washington in Qatar. Pakistan was also one of only three countries to recognize a Taliban regime that the US attacked Afghanistan to topple in 2001.

The Taliban and the US had been negotiating the deal for a year and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019, when President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process “dead.”

Talks restarted in Qatar later in December last year, but were suspended again following an attack near the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, which is run by the US. 

Violent assaults in Afghanistan have meanwhile been raging, with the number of clashes jumping to record levels in the last quarter of last year.

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