The United States renewed its appeal to the Afghan Taliban to join peace process, ahead of new round of talks expected to start in Islamabad this week.
The appeal came four days after Taliban’s statement stressing longstanding preconditions for dialogue brokered by representatives form Afghan government, Pakistan, China and the United States.
“We want to repeat our stance once again that until the occupation of foreign troops ends, until Taliban names are removed from international blacklists and until our detainees are released, talks will yield no results.” the group said in a statement.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby said United States backs a call by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for Taliban to join face-to-face talks with the Kabul government.
Kirby said during a regular news briefing that Taliban had a choice to be engaged in the peace process and ultimately become a legitimate part of the political system of a sovereign united Afghanistan “rather than continuing to fight their fellow Afghans.”
“There is and should be a sense of urgency around getting these talks and running” he underlined the necessity to gather around the table as soon as possible as he illustrated a possible worst case scenario in case of Taliban’s failure to collaborate.
"If there's no peace process in place and the Taliban's not willing to come to the table and talk about a reconciliation ... we would and the Afghan security forces would have to prepare themselves, for the potential for increased violence in the spring and summer months.”
"It's the so-called fighting season, and we've seen this before, when the weather warms up. ... I want to stress that's not what we want to see."
Taliban has been trying to topple Afghan government which has come to power after US invaded the country in 2001.
Ever since opposing the Afghan government’s security deal to keep US troops and allied forces in the country, the militant group has staged attacks in the country.
The group of officials called as “Quadrilateral Coordination Group” stated on February that they were expecting the face-to-face talks to begin in early March.
The first round of peace talks has been stalled last year as Taliban announced its founder and leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was dead in the past two years.