Taliban Rules Out Further Peace Talks

Last month, Afghanistan’s Taliban regime and its northern opponents agreed to cease fighting and to create a common government. Under the agreement, the Taliban and the Islamic groups which make up the northern-based opposition would share power in national executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government. Both sides also agreed to release 20 prisoners each to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Further talks to discuss the initial agreement were to have taken place at March’s end, but still have not been scheduled. Anger over continued military strikes and disagreement over the leadership of the joint government are the likely causes of the delay.

The Islamic Press has quoted Taliban head Mulla Mohammed Omar as saying “There is no possibility of holding another round of [peace] talks” until the northern opposition alliance agrees to forming a unified government under the Taliban’s control. Taliban negotiator Wakil Ahmed said “This is what the people want and there is no issue in principle concerning the leadership.”

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AFP - April 10, 1999

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