Taliban breaks off talks with US

The Taliban suspended talks with the US earlier today, whilst Afghan president Hamid Karzai ordered for US troops and Nato forces to be removed from villages by 2013 – following on from the killing of 16 civilians four-days-ago by an American soldier.

Meanwhile the Taliban issued a statement calling off negotiations with the American government. Their decision was explained on their website, but they did not mention the Sunday massacre: “It was due to their alternating and ever-changing position that the Islamic Emirate was compelled to suspend all dialogue with the Americans.”

The break up in talks brings a shadow over a visit by US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, whose main goal was to improve relationship after the killings on Sunday and Korans burning at the American base.

American officials insist that NATO forces should remain in Afghanistan at least till the end of 2014 but Mr Karzai has an opposite view. His spokesman, Aimal Faizi told AFP: “We’re ready to take over all security responsibilities now. We’d prefer that the process be completed in 2013, not 2014.”

However, Secretary Pancetta believes that both sides can work out a deal so US forces can stay there beyond 2014 and that they can also agree on controversial night raids which is the main problem blocking the agreement before the summit of NATO in Chicago in May.

However, according to analysts, the shootings on Sunday can make it difficult. Even though Mr Pancetta has promised Mr Karzai that the gunmen will be charged and the situation in which it happened will be looked at.

Photos by:

Flickr, world economic forum

Copyright for : Flag of Afghanistan public domain image picture

Source, AFP.

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