Executive Intelligence Review


Taliban Leader Calls for Direct Talks with the U.S.

Aug. 23, 2018 (EIRNS)—The Taliban’s Quetta Shura leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who is reportedly living in hiding in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, has called for “sincere, transparent, and result-oriented negotiations” with the United States, in order to end the foreign occupation of Afghanistan. Akhundzada said the Taliban will not talk to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s administration, which he labelled a “corrupt regime” and a “puppet.” His statement came ahead of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday that runs this year from Aug. 21-25, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and AP report.

Meanwhile, a State Department spokesman confirmed earlier reports that the United States would not take part in the Russia-hosted peace talks scheduled to be held at Moscow on Sept. 4, saying the talks were “unlikely to yield any progress toward a peace settlement,” RFE/RL reported on Aug. 22. Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi told RFE/RL yesterday that the Ghani administration has also decided not to participate in the planned Moscow conference. According to Reuters, citing an unnamed Taliban commander, at least four senior Taliban members will be in Moscow, and that the delegation would be led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Islamist group’s political office in Doha, Qatar.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said other countries invited to the talks include Pakistan, China, Iran, India, and the five Central Asian republics, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.