Afghan Taliban rejects reports of peace talks

Kabul: The Afghan Taliban outfit on Sunday rejected reports that a Taliban delegation was taking part in peace negotiations in Turkey.

Zabiullah Mujahid, a purported Taliban spokesman, said in an online statement that “reports about delegation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan participating at talks in Turkey are baseless”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Taliban militants use the name of Islamic Emirate they had used during their rule (1996-2001).

“We have neither sent any delegation nor can any participant represent the Islamic Emirate. Such fake processes are the work of intelligence and hostile acts against the ongoing Jihad,” he said in the statement.

On Saturday, Afghan media reported that an intra-Afghan peace dialogue was taking place in Istanbul to find a negotiated end to the decades-long conflict in Afghanistan.

The reports said the meeting was arranged in cooperation with the Turkish government.

In 2010, the Afghan government initiated peace and reconciliation process with the militants but the Taliban leaders have frequently rejected the offer.

The first-ever unofficial direct talks between the representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban were held in Pakistan in July 2015, but the process was scuttled after confirmation of the death of Taliban former leader Mullah Omar.