Afghan Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference

Afghan Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference

She said, the insurgents and the Afghan need to engage in a conversation with one another as well as with other interested parties to the settlement.

Wells noted that it was a complicated process which can not be pre-judged but underscored its importance for the success of the stabilisation of Afghanistan. "We've gone much further and underscored the importance and the centrality of this issue to our ability to expand relations with Pakistan", Wells said.

"These efforts of the Afghan government calling on the armed groups to cease violence and join the national peace and reconciliation process that would protect the rights of all the citizens, including women, children and the minorities, deserves the full support", he said on Thursday.

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The Taliban said in a statement that 29 soldiers and police were killed in the attack, including four commanders. There's a will to end this conflict.

The call follows President Ashraf Ghani's offer last month to hold peace talks with the Taliban and comes as global powers have sought to build pressure on the movement to accept negotiations to end more than 16 years of war in Afghanistan. "It's the Taliban who are the stumbling block to peace", Wells said. There's global support to this. Now obviously the USA has a direct interest in the resolution of this conflict and the Taliban have frequently stated the need for all foreign troops to depart Afghanistan is a precondition for negotiations. It has continued its armed push in rural pockets and periodic urban attacks, but it has put out several feelers in recent weeks, including a public letter that asked "the American people" to persuade USA officials to abandon the costly 16-year-war.

"But that does not imply that we would support or think that there's any manipulation of Afghanistan so that it can be used against Pakistan", Wells said in response to a question at the US Institute of Peace, a US-Congress supported top American think-tank. "For eight years the USA has been prepared to support a peace process, but we can not be a substitute again for the Afghan people in the Afghan government in a negotiation with the Taliban", the top American diplomat said.

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"We are not in Afghanistan to acquire it's natural resources to impose our own form of government to prevent the free practice of Islam or to destabilize the region", Wells said.

"We were inside the mosque when a loud explosion took place".

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