US still hopes for Taleban talks: envoy

A US envoy said on Monday that Washington still hoped to talk directly with the Taleban to support an Afghan peace deal but that the militants seemed unwilling to do so.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 17 Sep 2013, 8:46 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:40 PM

The Taleban opened an office in the Qatari capital Doha in June aimed at talking to the United States ahead of next year’s withdrawal of most American troops, but diplomacy collapsed before it even began.

“We would still like to see that dialogue initiated, a dialogue that would involve the US and Taleban directly but would also involve the Afghan government or its High Peace Council,” said James Dobbins, the US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We’re not giving up hope. We continue to hope that there will be a positive development at some point, but we can’t predict when,” Dobbins, who was expected to lead the US side at talks, told reporters in Washington.

“The Taleban are now, as a practical matter, unwilling to engage with the United States, with the Afghans, with anybody,” he said.

President Barack Obama has promised the war-weary US public to pull combat troops out of Afghanistan next year, ending the longest US war that was launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The United States has set a goal of concluding the security agreement with the Afghan government next month.

The US-educated Zarif was appointed foreign minister by newly elected President Hassan Rowhani, a reputed moderate.

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