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Afghan Taliban reject Hezb-e-Islami talks claim

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    Posted: 15-May-2017 at 8:47pm
Afghan Taliban reject Hezb-e-Islami talks claim

The Taliban in Afghanistan on Monday rejected reports that they are in contact with leaders of the party led by Gulbuden Hekmatyar.

On Sunday, a section of local media reported that the Hezb-e-Islami and the Taliban are in contact for a peaceful resolution of the years-long conflict in the country.

“Inside the country and abroad, we are in touch with some Taliban leaders that are willing to join the peace process”, local media quoted Qareebur Rehman Saeed, spokesman for the Hezb-e-Islami, as saying.

Swiftly rejecting the claim, the Taliban issued a statement on Monday saying no such contacts were made.

“We strongly reject the claim... the Hezb-e-Islami members should not propagate such things which are far from reality”, Zabehullah Mujahed, spokesman for the Taliban said in a statement.

It added: “The Islamic Emirate’s [Taliban] stance is [clear] that laying arms in front of enemy, and supporting enemy in its evil designs is against Sharia”.

When contacted, Nadir Afghan, spokesman for the Hezb-e-Islami, told Anadolu Agency that there is a minor confusion on what his colleague told local media, and what it was reported and conceived by the Taliban.

“We have not said that official contact with the Taliban’s political office in Qatar has been made for peace talks, he said, adding: "There are some Taliban commanders and leaders, with whom we are in contact, are willing to shun violence and join the peace process.”

Afghans expressed optimism that the Hezb-e-Islami efforts to mediate for peace between the Taliban militants and the Kabul government would yield results, and an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process would lead to the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the country.

Hekmatyar, a leader of Hezb-e-Islami, returned to the capital Kabul earlier this month after almost two decades of self-imposed exile.

His return to the political arena in Afghanistan was made possible by a landmark peace deal with the government in September last year.

In his speech at the Arg (Presidential Palace) where President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani warmly welcomed him, Hekmatyar pledged to strive as mediator for peace in the country.

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