The Taliban on Tuesday broke off talks with the Afghan government on a prisoner exchange, a main step in peace talks being brokered by the United States after it agreed on a troop withdrawal pact with the militants, APA reports citing Reuters.
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Islamist insurgent group’s political office in Qatar, said on Twitter a technical team would not participate in “fruitless meetings” and the release of their prisoners was being “delayed under one pretext or another”.
The late February pact between the United States and the Taliban, under which U.S.-led international forces will withdraw in exchange for Taliban security guarantees, is the best chance yet of ending the 18-year war.
But peace hinges on talks between the U.S.-backed Afghan government and the militants. A prisoner exchange is meant to build confidence on both sides for those talks.
A spokesman for the government said it would maintain its work on the prisoner release plan.
“We ask the Taliban to not sabotage the process by making excuses now,” said Javid Faisal, a spokesman for the National Security Council in Kabul.