Afghan Taliban once again reject government’s peace offer

July 8, 2018

TEHRAN - Ashraf Ghani-led government’s efforts to broker peace with the Taliban are producing no results as the insurgent group yet again turned down Kabul’s offer for peace talks on Friday, calling the Afghan government officials as “puppets”.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgent group is “not interested in talks while foreign soldiers are still on the Afghan soil”, calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

Afghan government and the Taliban recently observed an unprecedented ceasefire on the occasion of Eid al Fitr but the latter refused to extend it beyond three days. President Ghani who offered to extend the ceasefire unilaterally termed it ‘successful’.

Ghani, who has been trying to woo the Taliban to shun violence and join the mainstream, said the ceasefire had been 98 percent successful and had given indication that the majority of rebels were votaries of peace. “It is now Taliban’s turn to give a positive response,” he said. “I am ready to extend the ceasefire anytime when the Taliban are ready,” he said last week.

Taliban have time and again said that they are willing to hold negotiations directly with Washington but not the government in Kabul, which they don’t recognize.

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