The Taliban on Tuesday strongly rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai's statement in Tokyo that the Taliban had agreed to start talks with his government.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahed denied the claim, saying that a delegation of the Taliban had attended a research conference on Afghanistan at Doshisha University of Japan's Kyoto city, but never negotiated with the Afghan government nor agreed to do so.
"The Islamic Emirate of Taliban was officially invited to a research conference at Japan's Doshisha University in Kyoto city on June 27. The Emirate's delegation attended the conference but there were no negotiations or agreement between us and a delegation from the government. We strongly reject the false and irresponsible statements of Karzai," the statement said.
This comes after Karzai said Sunday in a press conference in Tokyo that Taliban senior representative Qari Din Mohammad had agreed to have peace talks with the government while at the conference in Doshisha University.
However, Afghan High Peace council member and foreign relations advisor Mohammad Ismail Qasemyar said that the delegation had agreed to start negotiations with the United States first.
"The conference was on the peace process in Afghanistan and all the parties were invited to the conference. As you know, the Taliban had a tough position in the past but this time they were more soft," Qasemyar told TOLOnews Tuesday.
One Afghan expert believes that the Taliban are denying this because otherwise their fighters will lose moral.
"There have been some negotiations, but if the Taliban are denying this, it is because their fighters would lose moral," military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhail said.
Japan's Doshisha University hosted a conference on "How to bring peace in Afghanistan" at Kyoto city and invited all the conflicting parties.