Washington, Feb 19 (EFE).- The U.S. government on Thursday denied engaging in "direct talks" with the Taliban to reach a peace agreement, as some media reports had claimed.
"We are not in direct talks with the Taliban, and there have not been any direct talks between the U.S. and the Taliban since January 2012, when the Taliban broke them off," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
"The U.S. is committed to enabling progress on an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process, which can lead to a stable and secure Afghanistan," she said.
Several media outlets on Thursday had reported the possible start of a dialogue between Washington and the Taliban in Qatar, reports attributed to alleged Pakistani sources, who said that the Afghan Taliban are ready to begin a dialogue.
The Afghan Taliban also denied undertaking a direct dialogue with the United States in Qatar with an eye toward beginning a peace process.
The main spokesman for the insurgent group, Zabihullah Mujahid, who regularly issues Taliban communiques to the international media in Afghanistan, said in a written message to Efe in New Delhi that "The reports regarding the talks with the Americans in Qatar are baseless. We strongly reject these claims. There is no plan for such talks in the Qatar office."
Mujahid said that there are still thousands of invading soldiers involved in military operations in Afghanistan, alluding to the almost 12,000 U.S. troops still in the country as advisors and to train Afghan security forces, according to Washington.
Afghanistan is experiencing one of its most violent periods, with some 3,700 deaths and 7,000 wounded reported among the civilian population in 2014, according to United Nations figures.
The insurgent violence gradually increased as 2014 drew to a close, when NATO ended its military deployment in the country.
That mission was replaced on Jan. 1 with Operation Resolute Support, whereby about 4,000 soldiers along with almost 12,000 other Americans will remain in the country on training and assistance missions to help Afghan security forces.