Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government says talks with the Taliban remain “on track” toward a negotiated settlement of the decade-old Afghan war.
Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai is quoted by the AFP news agency as telling reporters in Kabul on April 29 that "the peace process is still on track with the Taliban.”
The report, however, says the Taliban have issued a fresh denial that the militants have resumed talks with the United States or the Afghan government.
It quotes the Taliban as saying that negotiations will not begin "until the Americans take constructive steps and fulfill promises which were agreed upon for confidence building."
The Taliban broke off preliminary contacts with the U.S. in the Gulf state of Qatar in March, accusing Washington of having an unclear position.
Separately, Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi told Afghan lawmakers on April 29 that the Taliban has not shown any sign of being interested in peace in Afghanistan.
"In the last 10 years we have been fighting and, on the other hand, our government was proposing peace and reconciliation to the insurgents," Mohammadi said. "They [the Taliban] and the countries who support them have not quit fighting. Their strategy is a war strategy. We have not seen any signs that those enemies of the Afghan people who wage the war, the Taliban and the terrorists have come and accepted peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan."
The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, on April 28 said peace cannot likely be achieved in Afghanistan without including the Taliban in settlement negotiations.
Speaking at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club in the Pakistani city of Lahore on April 28, Munter reportedly stressed that Afghans themselves must resolve their problems. He added that the United States and Pakistan can only play a role by offering support.
The United States has been seeking to revive stalled peace talks with the Taliban and the U.S.-backed Afghan government in advance of most foreign forces pulling out of Afghanistan in 2014.
Baed on reporting by AFP, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, and tribune.com.pk