Strained relations: Demonstrators in Jalalabad, east of Kabul, chant anti-American slogans following Sunday’s killing of civilians by a U.S. soldier in Panjwai, Kandahar province.
Pointing to “the shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans” as one key reason for their decision, Taliban leaders in Afghanistan put the kibosh on plans to meet with U.S. envoys, releasing a statement on Thursday explaining the change of plans.
US diplomatic sources say the Taliban were told by US negotiators that the Afghan government had to be a part of any negotiations.
The Taliban statement reiterated that the group “considers talking with the Kabul administration as pointless.”
Other conditions reportedly set by the US in the talks include accepting of the Afghan constitution—which the Taliban have rejected—and publicly denouncing al-Qaeda.
The BBC’s Quentin Sommerville in Kabul says the Taliban’s suspension of the talks is a significant setback for efforts to begin substantive negotiations with the insurgents.