Taliban reaches out to US with offer of talks

Kabul, Feb 14 (IANS) The Taliban on Wednesday said it will welcome talks with the US and urged people to pressurize Washington to bring an end to the invasion of Afghanistan.

In a letter published on its website, the Taliban said they preferred to resolve the conflict that began in 2001 through peaceful dialogue and warned that the use of force alone would complicate the problem in Afghanistan.

“We still believe that it is not too late for the American people to understand that the Islamic Emirate (as the Taliban call themselves) can solve its problems with every side through healthy politics and dialogue,” the insurgent group said in its open letter to the American people.

The group called on the “American people and the peace loving Congressmen” to pressurize US leadership to end the occupation of the Asian country, a precondition that Taliban has always maintained to begin any negotiation, Efe news reported.

A few weeks ago, the Afghan government revealed it had started a process of rapprochement with some factions of the Taliban in Turkey, with a view to initiate a peace process, an option that new leader of the main Taliban group, led by Haibatullah, ruled out.

The Taliban had approached the Afghan government for talks in Pakistan in July 2015, but the process was soon suspended after Kabul announced the death of Taliban chief Mullah Omar, who had died two years earlier.

Afghanistan is going through one of its bloodiest periods since the end of the NATO combat mission in 2015.

Last August, Trump announced a new strategy for Afghanistan that included increasing troops to up to 14,000 soldiers and a tough stance towards Pakistan, a country that Washington accuses of sheltering Taliban rebels.

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