Afghan Taliban conditional response to the government peace offer

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KABUL- Afghan Taliban on Tuesday expressed willingness to initiate dialogue with the leaders of local groups resisting the United States’ “foreign occupation”.

The stance was expressed in a statement that termed the 2001 US-led military invasion of Afghanistan an ‘ongoing tragedy’ and remained mum over Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recently announced peace plan. Taliban’s Qatar based political office invites Afghans “who do not support the invaders, be they jihadi personalities or otherwise” to exchange views on how to end “foreign occupation” and establish an Islamic system and start a political reconciliation process in the country, it read.

The statement came after former governor Ismail Khan extended an offer to initiate peace talks. Khan, a former Jihadi leader, had earlier told the Taliban that if they were not willing to engage in peace talks with the Afghan government then they should broker “a deal with the great family of jihad” to resolve conflict.

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