State Department avoids comment on Taliban release by Pakistan


The US State Department has declined commenting on the release of Taliban prisoners by Pakistan.
During a press briefing on Friday, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was asked how the recent release of 14 Taliban detainees by Pakistan had impacted the ongoing reconciliation process in Afghanistan. She, however, refused to clearly answer whether the US considered this development helpful or detrimental for the reconciliation efforts. “I don’t have any particular comment on this set of releases. You know where we have been on the issue of reconciliation. We continue to support an Afghan-led process. We’ve been clear about that,” she said, adding that the Taliban, notwithstanding the willingness of the US, were not interested in the talks at present. “It’s the Taliban who have been saying since March (this year) that they are suspending their participation in that,” she said, while clearly hinting that the reconciliation efforts were heading nowhere at the moment as far as the US was concerned. US special envoy Marc Grossman has been undertaking hectic efforts for a negotiated peace settlement in Afghanistan without much output so far. It may be added here that Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry – with the consent of the Afghanistan government – had announced to release an unspecified number of Taliban detainees a couple of days ago.