U.S. Rejects Invitation to Join Russia Talks on Afghanistan - ‘Unlikely to Yield Progress’ by Matthew Pennington and Lolita C. Baldor – Associated Press
Russia said that the Taliban will be joining the Sept. 4 talks in Moscow, along with representatives of several neighboring countries. It will be one of the insurgent group’s biggest diplomatic forays since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
The State Department official said that as a matter of principle, the U.S. supports Afghan-led efforts to advance a peace settlement. And, based on previous Russia-led meetings on Afghanistan, the Moscow talks are “unlikely to yield any progress toward that end.” The spokesman was not authorized to be quoted by name and requested anonymity.
That decision comes as the Taliban escalates attacks across Afghanistan. It has refused direct talks with Kabul, even as it seeks to raises its diplomatic profile in the region and calls for talks with the U.S., which it views as the real power behind the Afghan government. The insurgent group has yet to respond to President Ashraf Ghani’s offer earlier this week of a conditional cease-fire for the duration of the Eid al-Adha religious holiday that began Tuesday…