The Taliban is uninterested in starting peace talks with the U.S. and Afghan governments as long as negotiators insist on calling them "peace talks." Taliban said on Thursday it was breaking off all talks apparently dashing hopes that direct negotiations would begin. The Taliban's statement didn't say they don't want to talk -- they just want to limit discussions to prisoner exchanges and political legitimization, according to its a statement. There had been a deal in the works in which the U.S. would release five Taliban leaders held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for a kidnapped U.S. soldier. The exact terms of that deal aren't totally clear, but Foreign Policy's blog The Cable reported on Tuesday that the U.S. was seeking the release of a Western prisoner, and the BBC mentioned in its story that such an agreement "was only weeks away." The Taliban's statement didn't mention the recent massacre allegedly by a U.S. soldier, over which the Taliban had vowed revenge -- nor did it mention Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visit to the country. It simply said the talks wouldn't go forward "until the Americans clarify their stance on the issues concerned and until they show willingness in carrying out their promises instead of wasting time."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.