KABUL: The Taliban in Afghanistan have not yet shown any sign they are serious about ending their 17-year insurgency despite US efforts to push a fresh peace process, the country´s de facto prime minister told AFP.
Abdullah Abdullah, who serves as “chief executive” of the unity government in Kabul, struck a far more skeptical tone about the prospects of a deal than his political rival, President Ashraf Ghani, and his Western counterparts.
Ghani said earlier this month it was “not a question of if, but when” an agreement would be reached with the Taliban, while the US envoy to the country even raised the possibility of a breakthrough before presidential elections in April.
“Recently there are renewed efforts in terms of the international community and especially the US,” Abdullah told AFP during a wide-ranging interview in Paris that also covered his own political ambitions.
“We are not judging it too prematurely, but I would say that our experience as of now has been that they (the Taliban) have not shown any intention to get seriously engaged in the peace negotiations,” he added.
The comment on Wednesday came after the latest atrocity targeting civilians in Kabul when a bomber killed 55 people at a banquet hall at a ceremony to mark the birthday of Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Abdullah, a political veteran of the fight against Soviet forces in the 1980s and Taliban rule in the 90s, called it “beyond comprehension.”
Beleaguered Afghan security forces are also suffering an unprecedented level of casualties across the country where the Taliban and the Islamic State group are stepping up attacks.