The Afghan government said on Sunday that it will hold negotiations only with Taliban factions that denounce violence.
This comes amid rampant Taliban-led insurgency in the country – as well as raised hopes for direct negotiations with the insurgent group.
However, Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a deputy presidential spokesman said Sunday that government will not talk peace with Taliban factions that carry out acts of violence in Afghanistan on the orders of foreigners.
“The government of Afghanistan will negotiate only with those groups that renounce violence. The groups which work for foreigners and commit violence, they will not be included in the talks and the security forces will suppress them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) and a number of religious scholars have said that the Taliban must stop killing Afghan civilians before attending peace negotiations.
This comes as direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to be held in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad. It also comes at a time of heightened insurgency and the continued killing of Afghan civilians in suicide attacks – of which many believe are carried out by Taliban militants.
Referring to the Taliban’s ongoing insurgency, a number of scholars and human rights commissions have said that the attacks against civilians on eve of the peace negotiations indicate nothing but Taliban’s unwillingness to join the peace talks.
“It is surprising that the government negotiates with those whose hands are stained with the blood of people. This must be clarified – who deserves the right to negotiate and which Taliban factions must be kept isolated from the peace process,” AIHRC member Musa Mahmoodi said.
“If the Taliban are really committed to peace, then the group must stop the bloodshed and announce full support to peace,” religious scholar Abdul Rahman Hedayat said.
In addition, a number of Afghan citizens have also condemned the deadly Taliban attacks in Kunar and Kabul province on Saturday, asking the militant group to end the violence.
“Innocent civilians were killed as a result of Saturday’s attack, they (Taliban) kill the people on a daily basis, negotiations with such groups do not make sense,” Kabul resident Sayed Jalal said.
Direct negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban are scheduled to take place in Pakistan in the first week of March.
As the time frame for holding face to face talks between the sides nears, the Taliban has continued with suicide attacks – with Saturday’s incidents killing and wounding dozens of people.
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