US and Taliban are not discussing future Afghan political system, says Sediqi

Speaking in a press conference in Kabul, Sediq Sediqi, Spokesperson for the President, rejected reports indicating that the US and Taliban are discussing a future political system for Afghanistan in their 9th round of direct talks.

He called the reports “baseless” and added that the talks between US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban were focused on four specific issues: a guarantee in the fight against terrorism, US troop’s withdrawal, participation in intra-Afghan negotiations, and a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire.

According to Sediqi, the Afghan government had a clear stance in that regard.

He, however, asserted that “some certain circles in line with the Taliban” have talked about topics related to Afghanistan’s future political system. “The Afghan people have [already] set Afghanistan’s future [political] system which is republic [system],” he stated.

According to Sediqi, the republic system is redline for the Afghans.

In the meantime, he stressed that peace roadmap was already developed by the Peace Consultative Jirga for the Afghan government.

He further went on to say that the Afghan government will enter in peace talks with the Taliban from position of power and defending the republic.

Regarding ongoing peace talks with the Taliban, Sediqi said that they were waiting for the result of the talks between the US and the Taliban.

On the other hand, Sediqi stated that withdrawal of the American forces will be condition based and hoped that Afghanistan and US joint efforts would continue to counter terrorism.

“The Taliban, Daesh (IS), and many other terrorist groups pose threats to the US and Afghanistan’s interests; therefore, the two countries and all countries cooperating with Afghanistan need to fight to remove the menace unitedly,” he said.

This comes after US President Donald Trump said that 8,600 US troops will remain in Afghanistan even after reaching a peace deal with the Taliban.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, has said that the US was not looking for a permanent presence in Afghanistan.