Taliban not ready for cease-fire, Afghan negotiator says

Abbas Stanikzai says New Delhi has always played a negative role in the war-torn country. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

The Taliban is not yet ready for any cease-fire, as the militant group and the Afghan government prepare to resume talks next week, Hafiz Mansour, a member of the Afghan negotiating team, said Saturday

Mansour added that a majority of the Taliban forces believe they could seize power militarily, a “dangerous mindset,” he warned the government.

The two sides began talks last year with the goal of establishing a cease-fire, paving the way for a democratic government whenever foreign forces leave the country. The U.S. had previously reached a deal with the Taliban whereby U.S. and Taliban forces would try to limit attacks.

Although Kabul is leading the current talks, the U.S. continues to play a coordinating role as a major military occupier.

Mansour said that some countries that have helped Afghanistan during the past two decades were willing to help establish an interim government, which would help the government transition from its current form to whatever is agreed upon in peace talks.

However, some regional countries oppose the idea, saying the idea of forming an interim government is an “American plan.”

In the meantime, Mansour said that the U.S. would try to help the negotiating team reach an agreement before the planned full withdrawal of U.S. forces in May, as per an agreement struck with the Taliban in Doha in February.

Mansour said there was no choice but to accept an interim government in the interest of preserving basic human rights.

He said the team would get its final guidance from the government on Monday, before leaving Kabul to Doha for a new round of talks set to start Tuesday.

Earlier, Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh said that Afghanistan is a complicated country, where the rule of one group was impossible and asked the militant group to participate in government.