The Taliban's chief negotiator on Tuesday said the "only way for peace in Afghanistan" is through talks with the United States.
Speaking to the BBC, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai said the Taliban's "doors are open" if President Trump wants to restart peace negotiations. Both sides were close to reaching a deal, with Trump inviting senior Taliban leaders to Camp David, but earlier this month, Trump said talks were over after the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack in Kabul that left a dozen people, including a U.S. soldier, dead. The deal would have reportedly included the U.S. withdrawing thousands of troops from Afghanistan over the next few months.
"They killed thousands of Talibans according to them," Stanikzai said. "But in the meantime, if one [U.S.] soldier has been killed, that doesn't mean they should show that reaction because there is no ceasefire from both sides. From our side, our doors are open for negotiations. So we hope the other side also rethinks their decision regarding the negotiation." Data collected by the BBC shows that on average, 74 people were killed every day in Afghanistan last month. Catherine Garcia
The Taliban responded Sunday to President Trump's decision to cancel Afghan peace talks following the death of a U.S. soldier and 11 others in a recent attack in Afghanistan for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, Reuters reports.
The Islamist group issued a statement after Trump backed out of a reportedly secret meeting between Washington and the Taliban that was apparently scheduled to take place Sunday at Camp David. "This will lead to more losses to the U.S.," Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said. "Its credibility will be affected, it's anti-peace stance will be exposed to the world, losses to lives and assets will increase."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the talks are now on hold and the U.S. will maintain troops in Afghanistan and continue to pressure the Taliban militarily there for the time being. It looked like the two sides were getting close to a real agreement that would have led to the withdrawal of American troops, but that's looking increasingly unlikely now. Read more at Reuters. Tim O'Donnell