Taliban still have ties to Al Qaeda: US
David D. Pearce, assistant chief of mission, told reporters at an event marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that Taliban still had link with Al Qaeda.
The US supported the Afghan government's peace talks with the militants, he said, adding the Afghan problem was not between his country had and the Taliban. In fact, the issue was between the Afghan government and the militants, he explained.
The reconciliation process had yielded some positive results, with the militants laying down their arms in some areas, Pearce added. "Concrete talks will be possible only when the Taliban cut their links to Al Qaeda, shun fighting and respect the Afghan Constitution and women rights."
Deputy US Ambassador James B. Cunningham, who was also present at the conference, said the Al Qaeda connection had proved harmful to Taliban in 2000.
The killing of Osama Bin Laden did not mean an end to the Al Qaeda network, he said. Cunningham believed involving Afghanistan's neighbours in the process was part of the solution.
He said the US has been helping Afghanistan with various development projects since 2001. Several of the projects had already been completed while the rest would be completed, he continued.
He called the 9/11 assaults as an attack on America's national security, which convinced the US to invade Afghanistan, the deputy ambassador said.
He said the European Union and other US allied would be a part of the strategic cooperation agreement with Afghanistan. The pact would be in best interest of both countries, he concluded.
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