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Taliban reject Gen. Nicholson’s ‘secret talks’ claim

Taliban reject Gen. Nicholson’s ‘secret talks’ claim

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On
Jun 01, 2018 - 21:28

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): The Talibaninfo-icon on Friday rejected as “far from true” US-led forces commander in Afghanistaninfo-icon Gen. John Nicholson’s statement that some Taliban factions were open to talks and were involved in “off stage” negotiations with Afghan officials.

Gen. Nicholson has said there is an “intensified dialogue” between “mid-level, senior-level Taliban leaders” and government officials in Kabul.

A number of channels of dialogue have opened up between the various stakeholders in the peace process,” Nicholson told reporters at the Pentagon.

““I call this talking and fighting. As [Defense Secretary James Mattis] has said, violence and progress can coexist and that’s what we’re seeing.”

However, Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in an email to media outlets that the American general’s claim was untrue.

He said the Taliban’s stance on peace had repeatedly been made public, which was clear and overt. “The American general, Nicholson, in a bid to divert attention from his failure in Afghanistan is making such claims,” Mujahid wrote.

Due to step down this summer, to be replaced by Lt. Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller if Miller is confirmed, Nicholson did not reveal who was involved in the ‘secret talks” but had said all stakeholders were engaged.

The Taliban said they did not want to enter talks with “unauthorized sections” and waste time.

A few months back, the Taliban had asked the US for direct talks but Washington replied by suggesting the rebels should hold talks with Afghan officials.

The Taliban have not yet responded to President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional peace offer which the president made at an international conference in Kabul months ago.

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