Taliban unlikely to come to peace talks: Obama

Ise-shima—The Taliban are unlikely to come to the table for peace talks with the government of Afghanistan “anytime soon”, despite the organisation’s new leadership, US President Barack Obama said Thursday.
Obama told reporters in Japan, where he met with other leaders of the Group of Seven nations, that he expected the extremist movement to continue its killing in Afghanistan.
“We anticipate the Taliban will continue an agenda of violence,” he said.
Obama was speaking the day after the Afghan Taliban named Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader, elevating a low-profile religious figure in a swift power transition after the death of Mullah Mansour in a US drone strike.
The surprise announcement coincided with a Taliban suicide bombing that targeted court employees near Kabul, killing 11 people in an assault that illustrated the potency of the insurgency despite the change of leadership.
The US killing of Mansour showed that Washington has at least for now abandoned hopes of reviving the direct peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban, which broke down last summer.
Obama acknowledged that he was never going to find a willing negotiating partner at the helm of the extremist group.—AFP

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