In a setback to peace deal, Afghan Taliban reject the Afghanistan government negotiations team

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In a setback to peace deal, Afghan Taliban reject the Afghanistan government negotiations team

PESHAWAR: In a setback to peace deal, Afghan Taliban reject the Afghanistan government negotiations team.

The Afghan Taliban on Saturday said they had rejected a negotiation team constituted by the Afghan government for the long-awaited "intra-Afghan dialogue" with Taliban.

"We had committed in the peace accord reached with the US on February 29 in Doha that we would join the intra Afghan dialogue but made it clear that all Afghan factions would participate in the peace process," said a Taliban leader based in Doha.

Pleading anonymity, he said last week they held "fruitful" talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha in which they made it clear again that they (Taliban) were willing to initiate the intra-Afghan dialogue but only if all Afghan factions are involved in the peace process.

"Today we were surprised when came to know about the team constituted by the Afghan government. It would be a total negation of our earlier stance if we started talks with the Afghan government now, which obviously not possible," said the Taliban leader.

He said their top leadership had decided not to sit with the negotiation team constituted by the Afghan government. "And we rejected the team formed by the Afghan government.

There should be a broad based team and needed to be comprised all Afghan factions," he said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told The News that they had rejected the Afghan team announced for negotiation with Taliban. "As we stated several times in the past, we would never talk to the Afghan government.

And today the Afghan government announced it's team for the intra Afghan dialogue, there is no way we would talk to them," said the Taliban spokesman.