Taliban demands direct talks with U.S. for ending insurgency

Kabul [Afghanistan], Dec. 10 : The Taliban militants group in Afghanistan has reportedly, put forward new demands for ending its insurgency in the country, including direct talks with the United States.

The new conditions also include recognition of the political office of the group in Qatar and removal of group's members from the United Nation's blacklist.

"That is why there is need for America and its allies to come to the table for direct talks with the Islamic Emirate (the Taliban) for negotiating an end to the occupation," Sohail Shaheen, a Qatar-based spokesman of the group, quoted by The News said.

Shaheen added, if peace is the objective of the other side, then the Taliban must be allowed to open their "political office" in Qatar and names of their senior members be removed from the UN blacklist.

"These obstacles in the way of establishing peace cannot be simply ignored," Shaheen said, warning that "mere slogans and statements" would further complicate the issue rather than promoting Afghan peace.

This comes as reports emerged earlier suggesting peace talks could likely kick off between the Afghan government and Taliban group.

In October, some media reports suggested that a three-member delegation from the Taliban's Qatar office was in Pakistan to meet authorities - the first such contact following the breakdown of Islamabad-brokered talks between Kabul and the Taliban in May.

Earlier, the Taliban leaders reportedly also held informal meetings with Afghan and US officials in Qatar.

Source: ANI