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Taliban Say Latest Talks End on US's Afghanistan Withdrawal

Taliban Say Latest Talks End on US's Afghanistan Withdrawal

"Many scholars believe that the deeper meaning of Eid al-Aadha is to sacrifice one's ego".

While Ghani insists that the upcoming September 28 presidential election is crucial for giving Afghanistan's leader a powerful mandate to decide the country's future after years of war, Khalilzad is seeking a peace deal by September 1, weeks before the vote.

Last month, the Afghan government announced a 15-member team to directly negotiate an eventual peace agreement, a process that insurgents say will not begin until they first reach an agreement with the United States on withdrawal of global troops. "We don't want anyone to intervene in our affairs", Ghani told an Eid-related gathering at the presidential place in Kabul.

"Our future can not be decided outside, whether in the capital cities of our friends, nemeses or neighbors".

The document, to be inked before global witnesses, would also require the Taliban to immediately start negotiations with stakeholders in Afghanistan, including envoys of the USA -backed government in Kabul, to discuss a nationwide ceasefire and matters related to future governance in the crisis-hit country. The two sides are expected to agree on the withdrawal of some 20,000 United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops in return for Taliban guarantees that Afghanistan would not be a base for other extremist groups.

Many Afghans had been hoping for a ceasefire to be announced over Eid. Leaders on all sides of the war in Afghanistan must take this to heart as we strive for peace.

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The U.S. negotiators demanded that the Taliban announce a ceasefire and start direct talks with the Kabul government, the Taliban official said.

"Bloodshed should stop, and peace should be established in Afghanistan", said Khan Mohammad, a Wardak resident.

The Taliban have refused to negotiate with the Afghan government, dismissing it as a USA puppet, and on Tuesday they declared the September 28 election a "sham".

More than 2,400 USA service members have died in Afghanistan since then.

A group of Balkh residents at a rally in Mazar-e-Sharif city on the first day of Eid called on the Afghan government to accelerate the peace process.

A peace deal would be followed by intra-Afghan talks, but it is not yet clear whether the Taliban would agree to talk to Kabul government members in their official capacity or only as ordinary Afghans, as they have done in the past.


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