Taliban call off talks with U.S. as tensions mount in Afghanistan

The Takeaway

The murder of 16 Afghan civilians, coupled with the burning of Korans, all by U.S. military forces, may have caused a rupture in what were once viewed as promising peace talks between the United States and the Taliban.

On Thursday, the Taliban announced it had suspended peace talks with the Americans, indefinitely. Getting these talks started, according to The New York Times, has been a major priority for the U.S. and its NATO allies for at least two years and was only now just beginning to show signs of progress.

In a statement, the Taliban said negotiations had commenced on releasing some prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, but that conditions had changed.

“The statement did not make clear what preconditions were objectionable, but the statement emphasized that the Taliban were only interested in talking with the Americans, and criticized “propaganda” about the talks that American officials had issued. Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban reached by cellphone at an undisclosed location, said the statement suspending the talks was genuine but declined to discuss it further,” the Times reported.

The BBC said the Taliban blamed changing American positions, as well as an effort to involve Afghan authorities, for the suspension in talks.

“The Taliban statement reiterated that the group ‘considers talking with the Kabul administration as pointless,’ ” the BBC wrote.

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