Taliban say unable to attend Pakistan talks; blame travel blacklist

20 February, 2019, 00:54 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • A statement issued by the Taliban says “most” members of their negotiating team are unable to travel because they're on the US and United Nations' blacklists. — AP  File

A delegation of the Afghan Taliban, which was scheduled to arrive in Islamabad on February 18, has postponed its visit because of travel restrictions, Taliban spokesperson confirmed Sunday.

A statement issued by the Afghan Taliban stated a delegation was scheduled to arrive in Islamabad but most of the members of its negotiating team are unable to travel because they are subject to United States and United Nations sanctions, according to a foreign news agency.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry confirmed that Islamabad will host a meeting between the Afghan Taliban and the USA in Islamabad.

A meeting between the Afghan Taliban delegation and Prime Minister Imran Khan was scheduled too.

The talks between United States negotiators and Taliban members in Islamabad which was supposed to be held on Monday, February 18, has been postponed, Taliban acknowledged in a statement on Sunday.

He said the Taliban could not be blamed for the delay in the meeting because they were full prepared.

The group rejected the reports which say the talks were postponed by the Taliban, Tolo added.

Ambassador Khalilzad further added that the objective of the USA peace efforts is not to seek a way for exit but is focused on maintaining peace in Afghanistan and strengthening of bilateral relations with Afghanistan would be discussed after a peace deal is reached.

He went on to explain that the USA delegation had discussions on four issues during the past meetings with the Taliban representatives, including circumstances surrounding the relations of Taliban with Al-Qaeda network, presence of US forces, direct negotiations between Taliban and Afghan government, and an overall ceasefire.

A US team led by US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad has been negotiating with the Taliban representative to put an end to the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan.

However, the Afghan government was not invited to that conference because the Taliban have so far refused to engage with Kabul despite pressure from the US, Saudi Arabia, and others.



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