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Taliban doesn’t recognise Afghan govt: Spokesman

Taliban prisoners walk as they are in the process of being potentially released from Pul-e-Charkhi prison, on the outskirts of Kabul on July 31, 2020. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on July 31, 2020 ordered the release of 500 Taliban prisoners as part of a new ceasefire that could lead into long-delayed peace talks. (Courtesy: AFP / Wakil Kohsar)

Kabul: Just ahead of the planned intra-Afghan peace negotiations which are likely to take place soon in Doha, Taliban has said that it does not recognise the government in Kabul as a legitimate system, according to an official statement.

“The Islamic Emirate does not recognize the Kabul administration as a government but views it as western imported structure working for the continuation of American occupation,” TOLO News quoted the Taliban statement as saying on Saturday.

This comes after Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen in an interview to an Iranian newspaper last week said that the group doesn’t consider the government in Kabul as legitimate.

In the interview, Shaheen described the Taliban as the “winner of the war”, stating that the group will attend the intra-Afghan talks only to bring an Islamic government in Afghanistan.

He further said that the Taliban will talk with all Afghan factions not only the government and the High Council of National Reconciliation.

In response to Saturday’s development, the Afghan Presidential Palace said that such statements by the Taliban are only to waste time and make irrelevant excuses.

Officials have said that the Taliban must accept the Afghan government as the main side of the talks.

Shaheen had also said that the Taliban’s violence reduced significantly in the country, but the Afghan government has insisted that violence has increased despite the group’s continued assurances.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior said on August 13 that at least 121 Afghan civilians were killed and 336 more were wounded in Taliban attacks in 29 provinces over the past two weeks.