Taliban talks in Pak were about hostages: Afghanistan

The Afghan government has said that talks in Islamabad between a Taliban delegation and Pakistani authorities were about the release of two hostages and not on the resumption of the peace process.

“As much we are officially aware, the peace talks (between US and Taliban) are stopped, and have not been started yet,” Idrees Zaman, Deputy Foreign Minister, told a press conference in Kabul on Saturday.

“The talks which are currently underway in Islamabad, in fact we can say they are about the two American hostages between captors,” added Zaman.

Zaman did not give details about the hostages, but it seemed a likely reference to the professors from the American University of Afghanistan who were kidnapped in Kabul in August 2016, Efe news reported.

They were identified as American Kevin King and Australian Timothy John Weekes.

The visit of the Taliban delegation to Islamabad coincided with a visit to the Pakistani capital of US special representative for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.

“The talks that might be underway in Islamabad, have nothing to do with the (Afghan) peace process,” Zaman said.

Zaman said peace was a priority for the Afghan government “but first, before beginning of the talks, Taliban should put an end to the violence”, given that “peace talks simultaneously with violence will not give result”.

The Taliban and the US held nine rounds of negotiations in Doha, talks in which a draft agreement had been reached.

But US President Donald Trump abruptly cancelled the talks last month after an attack in Kabul in which an American soldier was killed.

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