U.S., Afghan officials to open talks with Taliban

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A senior U.S. official said the demand that the Taliban sever ties with al Qaeda was not a precondition for talks, but it is an eventual outcome of the negotiation process.

The Taliban did not mention a cessation of hostilities inside Afghanistan.

“Never in history has any serious negotiating party announced their final concessions on the way to the bargaining table. Why should the Taliban be any different?” said Mr. Semple.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when they were toppled in a U.S.-led invasion for hosting bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. They imposed a brutal regime that enforced extreme Islamic law and forbade women from getting an education. U.S. troops overthrew the Taliban after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The Taliban and U.S. delegations will exchange agendas at their first meeting.

The U.S. agenda will include ways to see how the Taliban can cut ties with al Qaeda and release U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured in June 2009.

The Taliban ditched U.S.-led efforts to make peace in March 2012, citing the Obama administration’s inaction on its demand to release five high-value Taliban detainees from the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Taliban have refused to talk with the Karzai administration, which they derisively refers to as a Western puppet. In their statement Tuesday, they did not refer to the Karzai administration by name but offered to talk to “other Afghans.”

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen

Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.

Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.


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