Kabul rules out separate talks with Taliban
KABUL (PAN): The Afghan government on Tuesday rejected reports that it was going to launch separate peace talks with Taliban fighters in Saudi Arabia.
On Monday, some media reports said the Karzai administration was planning to offer the olive branch to insurgent leaders in Saudi Arabia.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) quoted unnamed Western and Afghan officials as saying the landmark meeting would take place in weeks before the establishment of a Taliban office in Qatar.
A senior Afghan government official told the BBC: "Even if the Taliban office is established in Qatar, we will obviously pursue other efforts in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey."
Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News, chairman of the Government Media and Information Centre (GMIC) Abdul Hakim Ashur rejected the report as inaccurate.
"It is a baseless claim that the Afghan government is looking for another country to host the peace parleys; we don't want a separate Taliban office in Saudi," explained the official.
The Taliban office would be in Qatar but peace negotiations could also be held in other countries including Saudi Arabia, he continued.
Earlier in the month, the Taliban announced their plan to set up a political bureau in Doha ahead of talks with Washington.
Taliban negotiators have begun holding preliminary meetings with US officials in the Gulf state on how to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan.