No secret talks with Afghan govt in Doha: Taliban
A day earlier, a British newspaper reported Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of Mullah Omar, was among participants of secret the meetings held in September and October.
The two rounds of talks are the first known negotiations to have taken place since a Pakistan-brokered process entirely broke down following the death in a US drone strike of Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.
Mohammad Yaqoob, Mullah Omar’s son, may join the Doha group. Pakistan, which brokered peace talks last year, stayed away from the meetings, a Quetta Shura leader told the Guardian.
One senior US diplomat also participated in the meetings in Qatar, where the Taliban have been active on the diplomatic front over the years. The US embassy in Kabul refused commenting on the renewed peace push.
Attended by Akhund and Mohammed Masoom Stanekzai, the Afghan spymaster, the first meeting in early September “went positively and was held in a trouble-free atmosphere”.
Fierce fighting between government and insurgent forces in Kunduz, Helmand and several other provinces notwithstanding, a second meeting was held in early October.
“We reject the Guardian report regarding the resumption of talks between the Islamic Emirate and the Afghan government,” a spokesman for the insurgent movement said.
In a statement, Zabihullah Mujahid said: “Our representatives have neither met Masoom Stanekzai nor any other government official. Our stance on peace talks remains unchanged. Our policy on this is very clear…”
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