Taliban fighters reject peace offer

Al Jazeera exclusive on why response to Afghan jirga's reconciliation call has been lukewarm.

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    Al Jazeera's James Bays reports on the Taliban's lack of enthusiasm for talks

    Taliban fighters in the remote eastern Afghan province of Nuristan have rejected calls to hold peace talks with the government.

    Delegates at the recently concluded peace conference in Kabul - locally called a jirga - asked the government to hold talks with the Taliban.

    FROM THE BLOGS
    Controversial jirga proposals
    By James Bays in The Asia Blog

    Shortly after the conference ended, Hamid Karzai, the country's president, made an overture to the Taliban, ordering the release of fighters held on questionable evidence in Afghan jails.

    But it is unclear whether Taliban fighters will respond to his call for reconciliation.

    Members of the Taliban in Nuristan told Al Jazeera they are winning the war, and do not see a need to enter into negotiations.

    They briefly seized control last week of Nuristan's Barg-e-Matal district. The Afghan government has retaken parts of the district, but rural areas remain under Taliban control.

    "The Islamic Emirate has a rule. While foreign forces are here, no representatives are allowed to attend any jirgas, or any talks. After the foreign troops leave, Afghans can sit and talk together," said Mullah Zayfan, a local Taliban commander, using the Taliban's name for itself.

    In neighbouring Kunar province, members of the Hizb-e-Islami militia group affiliated with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former Afghan prime minister, said much the same thing, insisting they would not talk with the government until foreign forces withdrew.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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