Kabul (TLS) – Chief Taliban negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai reiterated that peace is the “only way” for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Taliban told the BBC that their “doors are open” should United States President Donald Trump want to resume peace talks in the future, despite him having unilaterraly scrapped a draft peace deal between the two factions.

“From our side, our doors are open for negotiations,” Chief Taliban negotiator Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai said, reiterating that peace is the “only way” for Afghanistan.

On Sept. 7 Trump decided to cancel talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders after the group claimed the attack in Kabul that killed a U.S. soldier and 11 civilians. The insurgents denounced that an agreement had been “finalized” and that discussions had ended in “a good atmosphere,” but the deal had been sabotaged by Trump.

“They killed thousands of Taliban..but in the meantime if one [U.S.] soldier has been killed that doesn’t mean they should show that reaction because there is no ceasefire from both sides,” Stanikazai added.

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As the year-long peace process crumbled, in Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated that U.S. negotiations are on hold and that the U.S. would not reduce military support for Afghan troops or presence currently estimated at 14,000 U.S. troops and about 8,000 NATO forces.

The Afghan government echoed this on Saturday informing that consultations for peace in Afghanistan will be paused until after the Sept. 28 elections, in which current President Ashraf Ghani seeks re-election to a second five-year term while facing strong rejection from the Taliban, who have warned civilians to not campaign or head to the polls, dismissing them as a sham.

Meanwhile, the insurgents sent a delegation to Russia on Saturday to seek international support to push for the withdrawal of U.S. troops following the collapse of talks with the U.S. this month.

Without an end in sight, the war in Afghanistan will continue to be Washington’s longest conflict in its history. It was started after the September 11 attacks in New York City when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan as part of the so-called “war on terror” to dismantle Al-Qaeda by removing the Taliban from power.

Almost US$975 billion has been spent and approximately 220,000 people have died.

The Taliban claimed responsibility yesterday for two suicide attacks: one targeting President Ghani’s campaign rally and another targeting an area of Kabul near the US embassy and NATO office. At least 48 people were killed in the attacks and dozens more wounded.

This post originally ran on teleSUR and appears here with permission.


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