Afghan Taliban will continue talks with US peace envoy

33
<pre><pre>Afghan Taliban will continue talks with US peace envoy

Officials said the number of people who were killed when a bomb exploded in an election rally in northeastern Afghanistan has risen to at least 22.

The explosion occurred in Takhar province, where dozens of people gathered to listen to a speech by a woman who ran for parliamentary elections on October 20.

Jawad Hejri, spokesman for Takhar Governor, said at least 22 people died and 36 were wounded in the attack in Rustaq district.

Afghan men install election posters of parliamentary candidates during election campaign for election in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Afghan men install election posters of parliamentary candidates during election campaign for election in Kabul, Afghanistan.Credit:AP

Explosives had been placed on a motorcycle near the rally, which was to be addressed by the candidate, Nazifa Yousufi Bek.

The victims included security guards and civilians, a local police officer said, adding that the candidate was not at the rally at the time.

No militant group has taken responsibility for the attack. It is the third attack on the campaign process this month.

Khalilzad arrived in Kabul on Saturday and informed Afghan President Ashraf Ghani about his 10-day trip through four countries, ending with a meeting with leaders of the militant hard Islamist group.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.Credit:AP

Taliban sources said the two sides were facing difficult conditions.

"It was an introductory meeting where an eight-member US delegation held a lengthy meeting with members of our political office," a senior Taliban member said. Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of the Taliban office in Qatar, led the discussions, he said.

Another high-ranking member of the Taliban said that Khalilzad had asked the Taliban leadership in the Qatari capital, Doha, to declare a truce for six months in Afghanistan before the start of parliamentary elections on October 20.

An election poster by parliamentary candidate Fida Mohammad Olfat Saleh for the upcoming elections in Kabul, Afghanistan.

An election poster by parliamentary candidate Fida Mohammad Olfat Saleh for the upcoming elections in Kabul, Afghanistan.Credit:AP

"Both sides discussed the prospects for peace and the US presence in Afghanistan," another Taliban official said, calling for anonymity.

In turn, the Taliban want the Afghan government to release fighters from prisons across the country and rapidly withdraw foreign forces fighting alongside the Afghan forces.

A Taliban source said the US delegation had proposed forming various committees to regulate the release of prisoners.

"Neither side agreed to immediately accept the other's demands, but they agreed to meet again and find a solution to the conflict," he said.

Loading

Khalilzad was appointed last month when President Donald Trump's government made renewed efforts to hold peace talks with the Taliban.

A senior official who worked with the Afghan president said Khalilzad had informed Ghani of his meetings with senior ministers and top diplomats in four countries that could play a key role.

Khalilzad's journey began in Afghanistan and he traveled to Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar before returning to Kabul.

A statement about Khalilzad's diplomatic tour, published by the US Embassy in Kabul, did not confirm his meeting with the Taliban.

"The United States shares the hopes of all Afghans in a peaceful Afghanistan where all Afghans see themselves, and all Afghan citizens must be part of this process of reconciliation," Khalilzad said at the end of his four-year term, according to the message. National Tour.

The US partially overthrowed a Taliban-led government because it refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, which was displayed in 1998.

The US partially overthrowed a Taliban-led government because it refused to hand over Osama bin Laden, which was displayed in 1998.Credit:AP

Continuing struggles have raised questions about the viability of the US strategy to end the war, which last year focused on bringing militants to the negotiating table largely through further air strikes.

Last week, the Taliban demanded a complete withdrawal of foreign forces as the only solution to end the war, which began with the overthrow of the former Taliban government by US-led forces after Osama bin after the 9/11 attacks Shop to pass on the United States.

They have intensified attacks in strategic provinces and have also ordered Afghans to boycott parliamentary elections.

At least 8050 Afghan civilians were killed or wounded in the first nine months of 2018, nearly half of whom were attacked by suicide bombing and other improvised devices that could be war crimes, the UN said last week.

Reuters

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.