PESHAWAR: The Afghan Taliban have again offered talks to the US, saying that their doors are still open for dialogue if the US president is interested to resume contact with them.
In an interview to BBC, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, head of the Taliban negotiating team in Doha, said the only way of peace in Afghanistan is talks. He rejected the apprehensions of the US and insisted that the Taliban have done nothing wrong.
Stanikzai said the US killed thousands of Taliban according to their own claims. However, he said the US should not show this reaction when their soldier is killed because there is no ceasefire between the two sides. He made it clear that the Taliban are still open for talks and it is up to the other side to rethink their decision regarding the negotiations.
Stanikzai said a ceasefire between the Taliban and foreign troops was expected after the peace agreement. However, he said there was no such arrangement with the Afghan government forces.
A month ago, both sides were very close to clinching a deal on Afghan peace, but then suddenly the US President Donald Trump announced cancellation of talks with the Taliban after a Taliban attack in Kabul on September 06, which killed a US soldier and 11 others.
Stanikzai said intra-Afghan talks would have started on September 23, had a deal been reached and would have included discussions about a wider ceasefire. He said the Taliban had also approached Russia and China for help in the peace talks.
The Taliban chief negotiator’s interview appeared few hours after at least 48 people were killed and dozens more wounded in two separate attacks in Afghanistan – one at a campaign rally by President Ashraf Ghani and the other in the capital, Kabul.
The rally of Ashraf Ghani was hit by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle in which the president remained safe, but at least 26 people were killed and 42 others were injured.
Just over an hour later, another blast rocked central Kabul near the US embassy. Authorities initially did not give casualty figures, but later said 22 people had been killed and a further 38 wounded.