No Taliban presence at peace talks

The Taliban said on Saturday it would not take part in peace talks brokered by representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States, casting doubt on efforts to revive negotiations. The Taliban, ousted from power in a U.S.-led military intervention in 2001, has been waging a violent insurgency to try to topple Afghanistan’s Western-backed government and re-establish a fundamentalist Islamic regime. Following a meeting of the so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group made up of representatives of the four countries in Kabul in February, officials said they expected direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to begin in early March. But the Taliban, which calls itself the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, denied it would be participating in any upcoming talks in Islamabad. “We reject all such rumors and unequivocally state that the leader of Islamic Emirate has not authorized anyone to participate in this meeting,” the group said in a statement”.

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