Taliban dithering on talks with Karzai govt: Dobbins
WASHINGTON (PAN): Ready for negotiations with the United States, the Taliban are not willing to talk to the Afghan government, the Obama administration’s point man for Afghanistan and Pakistan has said.
“The Taliban are certainly ready to talk to the United States. But we're insisting that they also need to talk to the government of Afghanistan,” the US Special Representative said on Tuesday.
Ambassador James Dobbins has just returned from a trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Qatar, where he was unable to hold talks with representatives of the Taliban.
In an interview with CNN, he said: “After all, there's most of the issues that divide the Taliban from us and, for that matter, from the government of Afghanistan, are internal Afghan issues.
"And they have to be settled by the Afghans. So we're prepared to foster a negotiation, to participate in a negotiation, to have talks ourselves. The current stumbling block is getting them to also talk to the Afghan government,” he added.
Dobbins said at least some elements of the Taliban understood they could not simply go back to where they were in 2000, that the country had seen too much progress in terms of electricity, roads, telephones, television, television stations, health clinics and schools.
No fresh date had been set yet on for negotiations with the Taliban, he said. “Well, first of all, I'm not absolutely sure that negotiations are going to happen. We're still waiting for a clearer response as to whether they're willing to meet with us and the representatives of the government of Afghanistan.”
A lot of the issues had to be worked through and commitments tested in the course of negotiations, believed the special the envoy, who did not expect peace talks overnight or even over the next year.
“But we may be able to negotiate some interim steps that reduce the violence and perhaps advance some other causes. And each step will have to be verified and confirmed and executed before you go onto the next step,” the top diplomat concluded.
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