Taliban leaders dispute over delaying Afghan peace talks

Taliban opposition against their new leader Mullah Mansour may delay peace talks with Afghan government, says US top commander

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

US Army General John Campbell, commander of the Resolute Support Mission and United States Force in Afghanistan, October 6, 2015.

US Army General John Campbell, the commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, predicts that disarray within the Taliban leadership will delay peace talks with the Afghan government for a few months, said on Thursday.

Campbell said about 60 to 70 percent of the Taliban militants may ultimately negotiate with Kabul.    

"I think it's going to take a good couple of months before we see them kind of back to any kind of peace negotiation" Cambell said while addressing the House of Representatives' Armed Services Committee.

"I think reconciliation talks will continue, but it's going to take some time to bring the right people to the table to do that," he added.

The Afghan government held a first direct peace talks with the Taliban delegates in July. However, the Taliban group rejected the negotiations following the death of the group’s top leader Mullah Omar.

This spiked division within the group. Mullah Mansour, the new leader of Taliban, was supporting the peace talks with the Afghan government though some members of the militant group have continued to oppose his leadership. 

Mansour is expected to push for the continuation of talks into a second round, after the first round of talks were completed early July.

However, Taliban denied reports that a second round of talks were being planned to be held in Pakistan or China, with Mansour himself saying in the 30-minute audio that the talks are "propaganda campaigns by the enemy."

Taliban ruled Afghanistan and imposed strict laws from the mid-1990's until 2001.

But in recent years, with the withdrawal of Western forces from Afghani territories, their militant forces have grown and expanded their influence once again.

TRTWorld and agencies