Taliban suspend peace talks with US
KABUL (PAN): The Taliban on Thursday said they decided to suspend peace talks with the US until the Americans came up with clear stance on the issues concerned and showed willingness on carrying out promises.
In early January, the Taliban announced they had agreed to opening a political bureau in Doha for possible peace talks with Washington, a move supported the Kabul and US governments.
However, in a statement on Thursday, the group said it had only been in contact with the Americans over the exchange of prisoners and the diplomatic recognition of the Qatar office.
The resulting memorandum of understanding had been followed up with US demands that "were not only unacceptable but also in contradiction with the earlier agreed upon points," the Taliban statement said.
"We must categorically state that the real source of obstacle in talks was the shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans therefore all the responsibility for the halt also falls on their shoulders."
The statement also denied any talks with President Hamid Karzai's administration, although Afghan officials say the government is in contact with the group.
The Taliban did not comment on recent rise in anti-US sentiment in the country that began with the controversial burning of Qurans at a US airbase last month and furthered by Sunday's killing of 16 Afghans by a US officer.
The accused soldier has since been moved to Kuwait, a move that has sparked further outrage.
The Taliban said their talks with the US would remain suspended until the Americans honoured their promises on the release of Afghan prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay.
"The US government is propagating it has started talks with the Taliban on some other issues concerning Afghanistan, but we haven’t discussed anything, except the Qatar office and the transfer of prisoners there," the Taliban statement said.
The move comes at a time when the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is in Kabul to negotiate with President Hamid Karzai the contentious issues like continued night raids by coalition forces.
The Afghan leader demanded that all NATO-led forces pull out of Afghan villages in response to Sunday's shooting.
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