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  • Afghan National Army soldiers keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan February 27, 2016.

    Afghan National Army soldiers keep watch at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan February 27, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 March 2016

The Taliban publicly denied they would be participating in any upcoming talks in Islamabad.

The Taliban said on Saturday it would not take part in peace talks brokered by a four-way group including representatives of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States.

Following a meeting of the so-called Quadrilateral Coordination Group made up of representatives of the four countries in Kabul in February, officials said they expected direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban to begin in early March.

But the Taliban, which refers to itself as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, publicly denied they would be participating in any upcoming talks in Islamabad.

"We reject all such rumors and unequivocally state that the leader of Islamic Emirate has not authorized anyone to participate in this meeting," the statement said. "(Islamic Emirate) once again reiterates that unless the occupation of Afghanistan is ended, blacklists eliminated and innocent prisoners freed, such futile misleading negotiations will not bear any results."

Direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban have been on hold since last year's announcement of the death of the movement's founder and longtime leader Mullah Mohammed Omar some two years earlier.

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