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Taliban deny talks with Kandahar peace council

February 23, 2012

The Afghan Taliban has denied news of ongoing talks with the Kandahar peace council, however, accepted the peace talks being held in Qatar. — Photo by AP

KARACHI: The Afghan Taliban on Thursday has strictly denied news of ongoing talks with the Kandahar peace council in Pakistan.

However, Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi accepted the peace talks being held in Qatar with the United States.

On Wednesday, Kandahar peace council chairman Ata Mohammad Ahmadi had claimed they were holding talks with the Taliban in Pakistan.

“In the last 10 days, our peace council delegation has gone to Quetta three times in twos and threes,” he had said.

He had said that the officials had been meeting for “some time” with mid-level Taliban commanders in Quetta, where the leadership of the militant group is reported to be based.

While talking to BBC Urdu on telephone from Afghanistan, Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said that peace convoys neither came to Quetta nor were any talks being held.

The Taliban spokesman dubbed the news story as “propaganda”; however, he said that the talks in Qatar were at the initial stage.

“Who has the authority to negotiate?” asks senior Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Mujahid claims that there are two stakeholders to the Afghan peace problem — the US and Taliban.

“We do not want to waste time talking to a side that does not hold any authority,” he says.