KABUL: The United States said the Taliban’s failure to engage in talks to end Afghanistan’s nearly 17-year conflict was “unacceptable” and called on Pakistan to exert more pressure on the militants, reports AFP.
US envoy Alice Wells made the remarks during a visit to Kabul on Saturday, two weeks after an unprecedented ceasefire triggered spontaneous street celebrations involving Taliban fighters and security forces.“I think it (the ceasefire reaction) creates this impulse for everyone to renew their efforts to find a negotiated political solution,” Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, told reporters in remarks embargoed until Sunday.
“Increasingly I think it’s becoming simply unacceptable for the Taliban not to negotiate.”
The Taliban have so far ignored President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace negotiations. Instead, they have insisted on direct talks with the United States, which Washington has repeatedly refused.
One of the Taliban’s key demands for engaging in talks is the complete withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.
Wells said that since the Afghan government and United States were willing to start talking without preconditions, the onus was now on the Taliban to respond.