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KABUL: A Taliban spokesman yesterday dismissed the outcome of a conference in London between the leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Britain which aimed to work towards a peace deal within six months.
The conference and other “horse trading” were “the real obstacles of effective and fruitful negotiations between the factual sides”, Zabihullah Mujahid wrote on the Islamists’ website.
This is apparently a reference to the Taliban’s repeated demand that any peace negotiations should be between itself and the US.
The Taliban last March suspended deals with US representatives over a potential prisoner exchange and opening a liaison office in Doha. The militia has consistently refused to negotiate directly with the Western-backed Kabul government, against whom it has been waging an insurgency for 11 years.
He said that Western forces facing military defeat use such conferences as propaganda to conceal the deadlock in the country and “show that some activity and progress is going on”.
US-led Nato combat forces are due to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, and efforts to negotiate peace have gained urgency as they seek to leave with some dignity.
He said by telephone that the views in the lengthy “article” posted on the Taliban’s website would be followed soon by an official Taliban response to the conference. AGENCIES