ISLAMABAD - Afghanistan’s Taliban says it’s ready to open meaningful negotiations for ending the war, provided all its “legitimate demands” are met.
“To end fighting, we are ready to initiate meaningful negotiations with all concerned sides,” says a statement issued by the Islamist insurgency’s media wing on Thursday.
It reiterated that the U.S.-led “occupation” of Afghanistan should end “in all its shapes, an Islamic government should be established “ and there should be no foreign interference in internal Afghan affairs.
“We believe that when Afghans are convinced regarding the end of occupation and withdrawal of foreign troops than all problems could be easily solved through intra-Afghan understanding and dialogue,” the Taliban statement read.
The insurgent group also criticized reported plans of the U.S. and its NATO partners to extend their existing Afghan military mission beyond 2016 in the wake of brief takeover of the northern city of Kunduz by the Taliban two weeks ago.
“The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) believes that military solution is not a way out of the Afghan issue. The continuation of oppression, occupation and invasion is not in the interest of anyone. War and use of force will result in destruction and harassment of Afghan people and the flames of war will burn both the oppressor and the oppressed,” it added.
The militant group did not specify whether it wanted to resume a stalled peace dialogue with the Afghan government that was halted in late July when it was revealed that Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Omar, died two years ago.
Instead the Taliban criticized President Ashraf Ghani's unity government for stepping up a campaign to extend the foreign military presence in the country.
The miltants asserted that in the wake of recent "Taliban victories" in the battlefield the U.S.-backed government faces an uncertain future and is left with no public support.