Taliban violence will continue, despite new leadership: Barack Obama

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Ise-shima | Published: May 26, 2016 6:34:30 PM

The Taliban is unlikely to come to the table for peace talks with the government of Afghanistan "anytime soon", despite the organisation's new leadership...

The Taliban is unlikely to come to the table for peace talks with the government of Afghanistan “anytime soon”, despite the organisation’s new leadership, US President Barack Obama said today.

Barack Obama told reporters in Ise-Shima, where he is meeting with other leaders of the Group of Seven, that he expected the extremist group to continue their killing in Afghanistan.

“We anticipate the Taliban will continue an agenda of violence,” he said.

Obma was speaking the day after the Afghan Taliban named Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader, elevating a low-profile religious figure in a swift power transition after the death of Mullah Mansour in a US drone strike.

Analysts said it was not clear if Akhundzada, formerly one of Mansour’s deputies, would emulate his former boss in shunning peace talks with the Afghan government.

Obama acknowledged that he was never going to find a willing negotiating partner at the helm of the extremist group.

“I was not expecting a liberal democrat to be appointed,” he told reporters.

“My hope, although not my expectation, is that there comes a point where the Taliban realise what they need to be doing” and start getting into a dialogue with the government.

“I am doubtful that it will be happening anytime soon.”

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