You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Afghan officials and Taliban talk despite wave of violence

AP  |  Kabul 

Afghan officials are carrying out at least two tracks of talks with the even after a month of brutal bombings and attacks by the militants that killed nearly 200 and despite Donald Trump's angry rejection of any negotiations for now.

The persistence of the back-channel contacts reflects the desire to keep a door open for reconciliation even as the and its top ally, the United States, fumble for a strategy to end the protracted war, now entering its 17th year.

Rifts within the have grown vast, even as the gain territory and wage increasingly ruthless tactics.

The has unleashed heavier air power against the and other militants. After the string of attacks in recent weeks, Trump angrily condemned the group.

"We don't want to talk with the Taliban," he said. "There may be a time but it's going to be a long time."

Still, Afghanistan's and its continue to each talk separately to the Taliban, say those familiar with the backdoor negotiations.

The problem, however, is that neither is talking to the other or to the High Peace Council, which was created by the government to talk peace with the Taliban, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the contacts.

Hakim Mujahid, a member of the High Peace Council, confirmed that Stanikzai still has regular contacts with the Taliban's point man for peace talks, Mullah The two are not related.

Mujahid, who was the Taliban's to the during the group's five-year rule of that ended in 2001, said the group would not respond well to Trump's tough talk.

"The language of power, the language of threat will not convince Afghans to surrender," he said.

Andrew Wilder, of the Programme at the US Institute of Peace, said multiple players in have contacts with the


"But this isn't being done in a coordinated manner to achieve clearly defined objectives," he said.

Later this month, representatives from dozens of countries are to meet for a second time in the Afghan capital for the so-called process aimed at forging a path to peace. The first round was held in June.

Still, the latest spate of violence has limited options for Afghan Ashraf Ghani, who is also fending off a mini-revolt within his own government, feuding with the vice as well as a powerful northern governor.

Meanwhile, the former No 2 of the Taliban, Aga Jan Motasim, who still counts the radical religious movement's among his friends, warned that Trump's strategy of using the military to force a more compliant to the negotiation table could lead to more suicide attacks.

From within his fortress style house in Kabul, protected by and gunmen, Motasim said he wants to be a bridge between the government and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, February 13 2018. 18:10 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU