Kabul (November 19, 2018): A three day meeting between the Taliban and the US special envoy for Afghanistan to pave the way for peace talks ended with no agreement, the militant group said a day after the diplomat declared a deadline of April 2019 to end a 17-yearlong war.
“These were preliminary talks and no agreement was reached on any issue,” he said in a statement on Monday. Taliban leaders had not accepted any deadline set by the US to wrap up talks, three Taliban officials added.
The second round of talks went on for three days. This clearly proves that both sides are exercising patience and caution during their diplomatic engagement, a US official said.
But Khalilzad’s public statement that the Taliban believe they will “not win militarily” angered senior members of the group, who warned US officials against mixed messages that could muddle the peace process.“We were astonished to see Khalilzad’s statement in Kabul on Sunday. He wrongly quoted us, saying that the Taliban admitted that militarily we would not succeed,” said a senior Taliban member in Afghanistan.
Another senior member said Khalilzad’s strategy to declare a deadline showed how desperate the US was to withdraw foreign forces.
“Taliban leaders have not agreed to any deadline because we are winning on all fronts,” he added.
The Taliban “are not losing” in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top US military officer, said last week.