Taliban denies reports on talks with Afghan Government

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Kabul, May 22 (ANI): The Taliban has rejected media reports that said the militant outfit held talks with the Afghanistan Government in the Maldives.n a statement sent by e-mail on Friday, the Taliban said those who reportedly participated in the dialogue with the government were former members of the group, who had surrendered.

The participants were members of the "puppet state intelligence department," The News quoted the Taliban statement, as saying.

The militant outfit reiterated that the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan was the precondition for any peace talks.

On Thursday, media reported that the Taliban was holding secret unofficial talks over Afghanistan at an undisclosed location in the Maldives.

It quoted a Maldivian Government statement as indicating that it might be with the officials not directly connected with the Afghanistan Government.

"We cannot disclose the location of the talks, although we can confirm that they are not being held in Male or other population centres," ABC quoted the statement, as saying.

"Afghanistan's stability affects the peace and security of our region. The government of Maldives supports efforts to bring a resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan," the statement added.

The Afghan administration of President Hamid Karzai had earlier made it clear that it would like to negotiate with the Taliban, and the subject of negotiations was one of the prime topics discussed when Karzai met with U.S. President Barack Obama earlier this month.

However, talking over the speculations, Afghan Government Media Center Deputy Director, Sedeqi, denied that Afghanistan Government is participating in the negotiations.

"We aren't involved in these talks," Sedeqi said.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley also supported the claim and said: "The Afghan Government has told us that it is aware of the unofficial talks being reported today... and according to the Afghan Government these talks do not include official representatives of the Government of Afghanistan." (ANI)

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