Conflicting Media Reports On Progress Of Afghan Reconciliation

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Context

01-02-2012_Afghan ReconciliationReports in the British media indicate that initial US-Taliban talks on the release of five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention center have failed. Taliban is blamed for the breakdown of talks for not agreeing to the US demand of ceasefire before the release of prisoners.

Taliban source have stated that ceasefire will be announced when the foreign forces start withdrawing from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, former minister of vice and virtue for the Taliban, Maulavi Qalamuddin, has also denied any peace talks are being held. He said only negotiations on the release of prisoners are going on. However, he expressed his willingness to strengthen the talks to create an environment of trust for further talks in future.Up till now, US has neither confirmed nor denied the reports of such peace talks.

On the other hand, the Afghan government has denied reports that they will have separate peace talks with Taliban in Saudi Arabia. Earlier, a report had hinted that Karzai government is willing to offer olive branch to insurgent leaders in Saudi Arabia. A senior Afghan government official stated that even if the office is established in Qatar, they will pursue other efforts in the region.

Chairman of the Government Media and Information Centre (GMIC) Abdul Hakim Ashur has called the reports inaccurate. He said the government is not planning to establish another Taliban office in Saudi Arabia, and does want separate peace parleys.