KABUL - The Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omer is willing to join the Afghan peace process, the Afghan High Peace Council said on Friday.The Council said there is optimism that the Taliban's willingness to hold peace talks will increase, adding that direct and indirect contacts were being made with the group.
It comes as Pakistani media have published reports saying that Mullah Omer was ready to hold direct talks with the United States.The New York Times earlier wrote that the Taliban group was willing to join the peace process, something the High Peace Council also confirms.
"Mullah Mohammad Omer is ready to join the peace process and he no more sticks to not holding talks with the Afghan government," Ismaiel Qasemyar, a top member of the High Peace Council, said.He said direct and indirect contacts were made with important sources and there is more optimism.
"When we express optimism, it is not baseless optimism," Mr Qasemyar stressed.While the Taliban dismiss such reports, the New York Times has recently written that the Taliban have in their recent statements expressed readiness to hold talks before withdrawal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Some of the Pakistani media reports quote officials saying that Mullah Omar has put forward some conditions including withdrawal of foreign forces and the release of all Taliban members from US and Afghan jails.