'No agreement with Taliban unless issue of terrorism is directly addressed': US

New Delhi, June 27 (ANI): US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, on Thursday said that there is no prospect of any agreement with Taliban unless they distance themselves from international terrorism.

"We certainly agree that there is no prospect for improving relations with the Taliban or, any agreement with the Taliban, unless the issue of terrorism is directly addressed," Dobbins said.

"We set as a pre-condition for beginning talks with the Taliban that they make a statement that at least (they) began to distance themselves from international terrorism. And they did so, they made a statement," he added.

Dobbins said that the elections in Afghanistan, scheduled next year, should be given more importance than the ongoing efforts to get representatives of Taliban for a round of peace talks.

The US envoy further said that the elections that have been announced for April next year are crucial for the future of the war-ravaged country, as NATO forces would withdraw from the country later in 2014.

"A lot of us concentrate our attention on both the possible peace process on the one hand and the military situation and the reduction in NATO and American forces, those are not the most important things that are going on. The most important things that are going on, the thing that will shape Afghanistan's future more than anything else is the political transition that will take place next year," Dobbin told the media here.

Taliban militants attacked key buildings near Afghanistan's presidential palace and the U.S. CIA headquarters in Kabul on Tuesday, a brazen assault that could derail attempts for peace talks to end 12 years of war.

Claiming responsibility for the attack, the Taliban said it had targeted the presidential palace, the CIA office and the defence ministry. (ANI)

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