February 1, 2012 / 9:27 AM / 8 years ago

Afghan Taliban deny plans for Saudi peace talks

A Taliban militant poses for a picture after joining the Afghan government's reconciliation and reintegration program, in Herat January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Mohammad Shoiab

KABUL (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban said on Wednesday that the hardline Islamist movement had no plans to hold preliminary peace talks with Afghanistan’s government in Saudi Arabia.

“We see Saudi Arabia with respect, because it is the centre of Islam. However, as it was reported in media that the representatives of the Islamic Emirate will meet with the Afghan government delegation, that is not true,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement, using the term the insurgency uses to describe itself.

Sources in the Saudi government told Reuters this week that the Kingdom was reluctant to host Taliban-Afghan government peace talks, reportedly planned for this year, unless the Islamist movement renounced ties to al Qaeda.

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