Afghan Government Insists on Total Ceasefire Before Peace Talks

A spokesman for President Hamid Karzai dismissed claims that the government would grant Taliban control in some provinces

Taliban insurgents must agree to a cease-fire in all of Afghanistan before formal peace negotiations can begin in Qatar, a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Monday.

“When the talks start, there should be a cease-fire and the violence against the Afghan people must stop,” Presidential spokesman Emal Faizi said. But violence on any side in Afghanistan has shown no sign of subsiding, as the rate of attacks and casualties from NATO forces and insurgents continues to hit record highs.

Some are dismissing the talk about impending peace negotiations as Afghan officials continue to say it is too early and that they have no immediate plans for this much-vaunted trip to Qatar.

Faizi dismissed claims that the Karzai government might hand over predominantly Pashtun southern provinces to Taliban control in exchange for an end to the fighting. “The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will never accept such suggestion from any side,” he said.

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.