Won’t deal with Taliban separately, says Afghan govt

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. PHOTO: REUTERS

Addressing the recent leadership crisis among the Taliban for the first time, the Afghan government claimed on Monday that it will not deal with the militant group independently from other “armed opposition” in the country. 

The statement from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s office said it “will not accept any ‘parallel political structure’ opposed to the Afghan government, a clear reference to the Taliban, who still call themselves the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.”

The decision comes after the second round of face-to-face talks between Afghan government officials and Taliban representatives, brokered by Pakistan, was postponed following confirmation of Mullah Omar’s death two years ago.

In his first audio message, Mullah Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, gave mixed signals on the peace process. While calling peace talks the enemy’s propaganda, Mullah Mansoor did not rule out negotiations along with ‘Jihad’ to achieve the group’s objectives.