Moscow Talks Participant Sees Change In Taliban's Views

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel commander U.S. Central Command

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel commander U.S. Central Command

The Taliban had hailed unprecedented talks with Afghan politicians in Russian Federation as "very successful", despite disagreements over women's rights and the group's demand for an Islamic constitution in the war-torn country.

The extraordinary two-day gathering in Moscow saw Taliban leaders stand shoulder-to-shoulder with former president Hamid Karzai, who called the insurgents his "brothers" as both sides agreed to seek lasting peace.

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who headed the Taliban delegation, made a rare appearance in front of global media besides a smiling Karzai.

During his State of the Union address on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said that negotiations were progressing well. To be clear: no troop withdrawal timetable exists.

For years, the militants have refused to talk directly with the government, who they claim is a puppet of Washington, while the USA has refused to talk saying that peace negotiations should be between the two sides. On Wednesday, Taliban deputy chief negotiator Salam Hanafi said the group will negotiate directly with Kabul once the U.S. announces a full withdrawal.

WASHINGTON: The US envoy on Afghanistan has pushed back against Taliban claims that they have struck a deal for American forces to leave the country within months and said the group has now rescinded the claim, global media reported. In December, friendly forces killed Haji Manan - a Taliban commander the militant group said significantly contributed to their violent operations.

Reports, however, said four members of the Taliban who appeared in Moscow are blacklisted by the UN.

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Analysts said Moscow talks will pave the way for further talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Taliban reacted to the Afghan government's move by saying that "it shows Kabul administration's reluctance towards peace".

"Ultimately, we need to get to a Taliban-Afghanistan discussion", General Joseph Votel, the head of US Central Command, told US lawmakers.

"Every Afghan citizen has the responsibility to support and facilitate the Afghan peace process", said Omid Maisam, a spokesman for the chief executive.

According to MoFA, a number of members of Taliban delegation who participated in the Moscow talks are on the United Nations blacklist.

Karzai, who was president from 2001 to 2014, said he was "happy" to sit down with his former foes.

Najibullah Mujaddedi said the Afghan delegation and Taliban had nearly similar views on many issues and that he saw slight difference between their visions.

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