Taliban rejects reports of 'peace talks' with Afghanistan

Afghan National Army commandos look on amid ongoing fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz on October 4, 2016. Photograph:( AFP )

Kabul, Afghanistan Oct 19, 2016, 06.52 AM (IST)

Stressing that their 'hardline policy remains unchanged', the Taliban rejected reports of secret meetings with the Afghan government in a bid to resume peace talks, international news agency AFP reported today. 

A report in Britain's Guardian newspaper on Tuesday stated that Afghan government and Taliban "restarted secret peace talks in September and have held two rounds of discussions in Qatar".  The talks were attended by Mullah Abdull Manan Akhund, brother of Taliban founder and long-time leader Mullah Omar who died in 2013, the report further said. 

But AFP quoted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid as saying: "The representatives of the Islamic Emirate have not met with Stanekzai or any other officials. Our stance about the negotiations has not changed. Our policy is very clear on that," Mujahid said, referring to the Taliban`s official title."   The international news agency said that he denied any reports of talks or meetings in a statement released by the Islamic fundamentalist organisation. 

The Taliban have long insisted on the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan as a precondition for peace talks with the government, AFP observes. 

(WION with inputs from AFP)