The Taliban said on Sunday it will not hold direct talks with the Afghan government and rejected a statement from a senior Minister about plans to hold such a meeting in the next two weeks, a senior Taliban official said.
State Minister for Peace Affairs Abdul Salam Rahimi said on Saturday it was hoped that direct talks with the Taliban would be held in two weeks in an unidentified European country.
But Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, denied that, saying talks with the Afghan government would only come after a deal had been struck with the U.S. on the departure of its forces. “Intra-Afghan talks will start only after a foreign force withdrawal is announced,” he said.
The U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, said after Mr. Rahimi had made his announcement that talks between the Taliban and Afghans would happen after the U.S. “concludes its own agreement” with the Taliban.