Taliban postpone meetings in Pakistan over travel curbs

The Taliban have long made their money in the opium trade. Will that continue

The Taliban have long made their money in the opium trade. Will that continue

The talks between USA and Afghan Taliban slated for Monday have been postponed, according to the insurgent group which alleged that some members of its negotiating team could not travel to Pakistan for the meeting due to sanctions imposed by America and the UN.

Ahmadi also said such a move also gave "recognition" to the Taliban. It did not explain how several members previously were able to travel to meetings in the United Arab Emirates and Moscow.

On February 7, the Afghan government issued a similar protest to the Security Council regarding a trip by Taliban members to Moscow for Russia-backed peace talks, charging that the Kremlin was allowing sanctioned individuals to enter the country for the session. The Afghanistan government alleged in the letter (dated Feb 15) that Pakistan's official engagements with Taliban is happening in a manner which is a violation of national sovereignty of Afghanistan. The national sovereignty is our redline, so we will deal with the issue from various forums.

"The Islamic Emirate had planned participation of its members in talks with United States negotiating team in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad which has been postponed due to inclusion of most of the members of our negotiation team in black list maintained by the U.S. and the UN", a Taliban statement said.

Taliban officials say they want all foreign troops out before a ceasefire, but would still welcome non-military foreign help to re-build the country.

This comes after reports said that Taliban would hold talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.

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"From amongst thousands in the Taliban ranks, it is possible that some people oppose the meeting in Islamabad, but in principle, the group has accepted the meeting", said Hassan Haqyar, a political activist.

Earlier, the Taliban had stated that they had received a formal invitation by the government of Pakistan for a meeting between their negotiation teams and United States in Islamabad.

The Afghan government also suggested that Islamabad should undertake decisive action against terrorist groups on Pak territory which is a threat to Pakistan itself, Afghanistan and wider region.

"There was agreement that the Taliban's political office in Doha should be formally opened and the blacklist of the Taliban members removed", Shaheen said, adding this along with the release of Taliban prisoners would accelerate the peace process and create an atmosphere of trust.

The meeting in Moscow continued for two days on February 4 and 5 and then a joint declaration was announced by the delegates in which they outlined a nine-point approach to promote "intra-Afghan" dialogue aimed at finding a political settlement to the conflict in the country.

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