Taliban ready to start peace talks with Afghanistan

The Taliban says it is ready to enter peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan, even though their insurgents still plan to carry on fighting, the Associated Press reported.

The militant organization announced the peace talks on Thursday in an emailed statement, suggesting they are ready for peace talks, but still pointing out obstacles on the way to any sort of settlement, especially their insistence that President Hamid Karzai’s government is a “stooge” of the West, the AP reported.

Read more at GlobalPost: Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemns video of US Marines 'urinating on Taliban bodies'

The statement said the Taliban have been fighting for the last 15 years to establish an Islamic government in Afghanistan.

"It is for this purpose and for bringing about peace and stability in Afghanistan that we have increased our political efforts to come to mutual understanding with the world in order to solve the current ongoing situation," spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in the statement, the AP reported. "But this understanding does not mean a surrender from jihad and neither is it connected to an acceptance of the constitution of the stooge Kabul administration."

Meanwhile, the United States also plans to resume peace talks with the Taliban, as soon as Karzai formally blesses negotiations, the Washington Post reported.

“If Karzai were to tell [the Obama administration] to go ahead, then we’d start talking again,” said one of two officials, who discussed the secret negotiations on the condition of anonymity with the AP.

Read more at GlobalPost: Afghanistan war: How not to win over hearts and minds

The last meeting between the US and Taliban happened in December, when the US agreed to transfer five Afghan detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar. But when Karzai refused to go along with the deal, the meetings collapsed, the Washington Post reported.

The Taliban have said they are still willing to have peace talks with the US, despite the video posted on YouTube on Wednesday, showing American troops urinating on the bodies of dead Taliban fighters, Reuters reported. Karzai has condemned the video and called for an investigation.

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