Smoke rises from a house where suspected attackers were hiding while policemen arrests two suspects, left, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018. The Taliban fired rockets toward the presidential palace in Kabul Tuesday as President Ashraf Ghani was giving his holiday message for the Muslim celebrations of Eid al-Adha, said police official Jan Agha. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

US declines invitation to Russia-led talks on Afghanistan

August 23, 2018 - 2:51 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has rejected an invitation to join Russia-led talks on Afghanistan, saying they are unlikely to help bring peace.

A State Department spokesman said Wednesday that as a matter of principle, the U.S. supports Afghan-led efforts to advance a peace settlement.

Russia says 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.

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.

The Taliban are refusing to negotiate with the Afghan government despite a cease-fire offer.

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