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Central & South Asia
Afghan official denies concessions to Taliban
President's spokesman says handing over control of certain areas would be an affront to country's territorial integrity.
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2012 17:51
Many Afghans believe there must be an end to the ongoing violence before talks can be conducted with the Taliban

The Afghan government has not considered handing over control of some Afghan provinces to the Taliban, according to the chief spokesperson of President Hamid Karzai.

Emal Faizi said on Monday that the government will never accept a demand to hand over control of parts of the nation to the group. He said such demands would be an affront to the Central Asian nation's unity and territorial integrity.

"The Afghan government will never accept such a demand from any side, as our stance is very clear about national unity," Faizi said.

Speaking to a local Afghan news source, Faizi also said before any talks can be conducted with the Taliban there must be an end to the violence in Afghanistan, which has increased in recent months.

"We have been clear that violence against the Afghan people must stop before we begin to hold talks," he said.

Faizi stated that the government in Kabul had made no decisions whether to send representatives to Qatar, the Gulf state where the Taliban is set to open an office in order to engage in negotiations with the US.

However, on the same day, an adviser for the High Peace Council was quoted as saying a senior member of the council is due to head to Qatar soon in order to obtain details of plans for a Taliban office in Doha.

The office, seen as a step towards establishing the political address for the Taliban which Karzai has recently called for, has earned the criticism of some Afghan officials.

"We want to see the office with our own eyes and that's why someone from the High Peace Council will be travelling to Qatar soon," Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, a leading member of the High Peace Council, told the Reuters news agency.

Ustad Atta Mohammad Noor, governor of the northern province of Balkh, said in Kabul on Sunday that no foreign country has the right to hold direct talks with the Taliban without first consulting the Afghan people.

"It is a deal between the US and Taliban. My opinion is that Taliban are involved in killing Afghans and violations of human rights," Noor, a former leader during the Soviet occupation himself, said a day before the HPC's announcement.

Qasimyar too cautioned against negotiations that do not include the Afghan government in the process.

"Any talks without the participation of Afghanistan are not going to succeed," he said.

Source:
Agencies
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