Afghan Govt: Vote 1st, Then Peace Deal 09/14 08:51
The Afghan government will only consider making a "legitimate" peace with
insurgents after national elections are held this month, an official told
reporters on Saturday, despite the atmosphere of political uncertainty
following the sudden halt in U.S.-Taliban peace talks.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Afghan government will only consider making a
"legitimate" peace with insurgents after national elections are held this
month, an official told reporters on Saturday, despite the atmosphere of
political uncertainty following the sudden halt in U.S.-Taliban peace talks.
President Donald Trump abruptly called off talks to end American's longest
war last week. The Afghan government was largely shut out of the negotiations
and concerned that any finalized U.S.-Taliban deal would delay the elections
while a national unity government was formed, forcing the exit of President
"Nothing will impede the presidential election from happening," said the
Afghan presidential spokesman, Sediq Seddiqi.
He said that a peace deal with the Taliban could only come after holding the
presidential election scheduled for Sept. 28. "Legitimacy of peace cannot be
achieved without elections," he said.
Sediqqi also suggested that there will be a "big change" toward improving
security across the country ahead of the voting and fears over more violence.
The Taliban, who consider the Afghan government a U.S. puppet, have warned
Afghans not to vote and that polling stations will be targets.
Sediqqi pointed to a Taliban delegation's visit to Russia, just days after
Trump called off talks, to say the insurgents are faced with a "political
failure" of their own. He added that the Taliban should hold talks directly
with the Afghan government --- which they have refused to do --- rather than
On Friday, a Taliban negotiating team visited Russia, where they held
consultations with Zamir Kabulov, President Vladimir Putin's envoy for
The Interfax news agency cited an unidentified Russian Foreign Ministry
spokesman as saying the meeting underlined the necessity of renewing talks
between the U.S. and the Taliban, and that the Taliban confirmed their
readiness to continue dialogue with Washington.
It was the Taliban's first international visit following the collapse of
talks with Washington. The team was led by Mullah Sher Mohammad Stanikzai.
Moscow has twice this year hosted meetings between the Taliban and prominent
Sediqqi said that the Afghan government has suspended its own peace efforts
for now. After the elections, the "progress of the peace process" would be a
priority, he said.
Separately in eastern Kapisa province, a bomb killed at least three
civilians who had gathered to watch a volleyball game, said Nasrat Rahimi,
spokesman for the Interior Ministry.
Rahimi added that two other civilians were wounded when Friday's blast
occurred in the Tagab district. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Also in southern Kandahar province, in an insider attack, two policemen
turned on their colleagues and shot dead at least nine police officers at a
checkpoint, according to a provincial official who spoke on condition of
anonymity, because he was not authorized to talk to media.
The attack happened in the Shah Wali Kot district late on Friday night and
both attackers fled the area, the official said.
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for the