Taliban Denies Reported Meeting With Afghan Officials in Saudi Arabia

Taliban officials previously said the two sides talked prisoner exchange

Conflicting reports emerged on Friday about negotiations between the Taliban and Afghan government earlier this week. Anonymous Taliban officials were quoted as saying such talks took place, and ended with an agreement for a prisoner exchange. Indeed, one official suggested that some Taliban had already been released since the talks.

Yet the official Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, issued a contrary statement, insisting that no such talks had ever happened. They also reported that planned talks with the US fell through at the last minute for “certain reasons.”

The Taliban-Afghan talks had been reported to be planned before, with the talks expected, as since reported, as the Afghan government wanted security guarantees for the October election, and wanted detained Taliban members freed in return.

With conflicting statements, and the Afghan government refusing comment, there is no way of knowing whether the talks happened, or the deal was struck. Reports of detainees being released are similarly impossible to confirm, since the Taliban never made the list of sought releases public.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.