Taliban ‘not interested in talks’ while foreign troops ‘are on Afghan soil’

The Taliban have again rejected Afghanistan’s offer for peace talks with the government in Kabul. The movement’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Friday that the insurgents “are not interested in talks while foreign soldiers are still on Afghan soil.” Mujahid also repeated long-standing Taliban claims that Afghan government officials are “puppets,” AP reported. Last month, the Afghan High Peace Council, a government body tasked with negotiating an end to the nearly 17-year war with the insurgents, called on the Taliban to join the peace process. Taliban leaders have at times expressed interest in holding peace talks but said they would only negotiate with the US directly about the withdrawal of all foreign forces.