The US has rejected an invitation to join Russia-led talks on Afghanistan, saying they are unlikely to help bring peace.
A State Department spokesman said Wednesday that as a matter of principle, the US supports Afghan-led efforts to advance a peace settlement.
Russia says that the Taliban will be joining the September 4 talks in Moscow, along with representatives of several neighboring countries. It will be one of the insurgent group’s biggest diplomatic forays since the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan.
Based on previous Russia-led meetings on Afghanistan, the Moscow talks are “unlikely to yield any progress toward that end,” the US State Department spokesman said.
The spokesman was not authorized to be quoted by name and requested anonymity, AP reported.
The Taliban are refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government despite a cease-fire offer.
This comes after the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Wednesday said government will not participate in the upcoming peace meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow next month. The ministry said government firmly believes in intra-Afghan dialogue.
According to officials, the Kabul government has not received a formal invitation to attend the talks so far.
“The peace process definitely needs to be carried out under the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We will not participate in the Moscow talks,” said MoFA deputy spokesman Sibghat Ahmadi.
Russia says it has invited the Taliban and 12 countries, including Afghanistan and the United States, to the Moscow talks.
Meanwhile Radio Free Europe reported the US decision not to attend the Moscow talks drew an angry response from Moscow.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Washington’s "refusal to attend the Moscow meeting on Afghanistan shows Washington has no interest in launching a peace process in Afghanistan."
"We have learned with regret from the United States Department of State's statement that the Americans will not take part in the Moscow" meeting, the ministry said. "Admittedly, this step does not cause great surprise."
The Russian Foreign Ministry said other countries invited to the talks include Pakistan, China, Iran, India, and the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia.
Moscow also rejected the claim, made by Afghanistan's ambassador to Russia, Abdul Qayyum Kochai, that Russia aims to use the Taliban to fight against Daesh.
The Foreign Ministry said that the allegation "completely distorts the meaning of Russia's policy on Afghanistan."