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No change in red lines for Taliban talks: US

No change in red lines for Taliban talks: US

Sep 26, 2013 - 12:21

WASHINGTON (PANinfo-icon): The United States on Wednesday hoped negotiations on the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with Afghanistaninfo-icon would be completed in the next few weeks.

A top Obama administration official said it was too early to see what role Mullahinfo-icon Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was recently released by Pakistaninfo-icon, could play in peace talks with the Talibaninfo-icon.

Special US Representatives for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins told foreign journalists here there had been no change in the red lines with regard to reconciliation talks,

Only after the BSA negotiations were over, President Barack Obama would decide on the number of American troops staying in Afghanistan after 2014, he added.

"Those negotiations have been underway for almost a year; they have been increasingly intense in the last couple of months. The site of negotiations has moved to Kabulinfo-icon." 

He noted the level of participation had also increased, saying the Washington was hopeful that process would be concluded in the next several weeks. 

Dobbins said the US was currently negotiating a basis for a continued military presence to advise and assist Afghan armed forces.

"Once we complete that, NATOinfo-icon will seek to negotiate a comparable agreement that will allow the presence of other non-American forces as part of that coalition in support of Afghanistan," he said. 

The US had kept Pakistan fully appraised of its intention and negotiations and looked forward to its continued support for the international presence in Afghanistan, he continued.

Dobbins said both Afghanistan and Pakistan wanted the release of Baradar and as such the US supported the move, but his role in the peace process was not known yet.

"All we know is the Afghan government and the Pakistani government both wanted this to happen, and both think that it will contribute to reconciliation, a goal we support." 

Pakistan and Afghanistan believed Baradar, once released, would become a supporter and a proponent for reconciliation, he said, adding American conditions for successful peace negotiations were well known. 

"The Taliban would have to stop fighting. They would have to respect the Afghan constitution and operate within it. They would have to cut their ties with al-Qaida. Those are not conditions to begin negotiations, they're conditions to end negotiations..."

The diplomat explained the US itself had had no contacts with the Taliban since early 2012, but would support a process that would allow American-Taliban talks. More importantly, he said, they wanted talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.




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