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New Taliban Leader Mullah Haibatullah Unlikely to Engage in Peace Talks

Sputnik News

19:52 01.06.2016

Resolute Support Mission deputy spokesperson Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland said that Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada will take part in the peace talks in Afghanistan.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States does not envision newly ascendant Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada to negotiate with the Afghan government anytime soon given his violent radical background, Resolute Support Mission deputy spokesperson Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland told reporters on Wednesday.

"I don't believe that we will see peace talks anytime in the short term with Mullah Haibatullah [Akhundzada]," Cleveland said.

Akhundzada has issued religious rulings, or fatwas, to suicide bombers and authorized Taliban to kill each other, and is not expected to come to the negotiating table, Cleveland noted.

The United States hopes that lower level Taliban leaders will engage in talks and follow the example of Hezb-i-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a militant group that has recently negotiated with the Afghan government, Cleveland added.

Last week, the Taliban confirmed it had appointed Akhundzada as its new leader to replace Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan just days earlier.


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