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Page last updated at 07:50 GMT, Friday, 16 March 2012

Afghan 'frustration' over talks with US

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The Taliban in Afghanistan have suspended preliminary peace negotiations with the United States, blaming the Americans' "ever-changing position".

Michael Semple, the European Union diplomat who was kicked out of Afghanistan back in 2007 when it was discovered he was talking to the Taliban, told the Today programme's Sarah Montague that "frustration was building up" before the Koran burning incident and the massacre in Kandahar in which a US soldier killed 22 Afghans in their beds.

Mr Semple said that the Taliban expected that after they acknowledged they were talking the Americans that some of comrades would be shifted from Guanatanamo to Qatar and they have been waiting for the last three months and the main frustration is that things are going too slowly.

"We should not underestimate the extent to which the Taliban were taking a risk" and acknowledging they were going into talks with the Americans, he said.

He explained that both sides have gone in to these talks by saying they are going to pursue a "fight and talk strategy" in which talks are accompanied by both sides of the military in action.

"The alternative to doing a deal is Nato troops exiting without a deal in place", he said, adding that Afghans are telling him that the "likely consequence will be moving towards civil war where there are no guarantees on human rights or women's rights".


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