The Taliban has claimed that it does not recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kabul, according to an official statement released on Saturday. The declaration comes shortly ahead of the intra-Afghan peace negotiations that are scheduled to be held in Doha, Qatar.
"The Islamic Emirate does not recognize the Kabul administration as a government but views it as western imported structure working for the continuation of American occupation," the Taliban statement said.
Talks With All Afghan Factions, Says Taliban Spokesman
This comes after Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen in an interview with an Iranian newspaper last week said that the group doesn't consider the government in Kabul as legitimate. In the interview, Shaheen described the Taliban as the "winner of the war", stating that the group will attend the intra-Afghan talks only to bring an Islamic government in Afghanistan.
He further said that the Taliban will talk with all Afghan factions not only the government and the High Council of National Reconciliation. In response to Saturday's development, the Afghan Presidential Palace said that such statements by the Taliban are only to waste time and make irrelevant excuses.
Taliban's Reduced Violence Claims
Officials have said that the Taliban must accept the Afghan government as the main side of the talks. Shaheen had also said that the Taliban's violence reduced significantly in the country, but the Afghan government has insisted that violence has increased despite the group's continued assurances.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said on August 13 that at least 121 Afghan civilians were killed and 336 more were wounded in Taliban attacks in 29 provinces over the past two weeks.
(With inputs from agencies)