Afghan government still wants talks with the Taliban

An Afghan official says the government still hopes to hold peace talks with the Taliban despite a recent statement from the insurgents saying they refuse to take part in the process.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai on Monday called the Taliban's rejection a "tactical" move and said Kabul would continue its peace efforts.

The Taliban issued a statement on Saturday saying they would not participate in a peace process with the government until foreign forces stop attacking their positions and leave the country. It said they "reject" peace talks and that reports of their participation were "rumors."

Face-to-face talks were expected to be held in Pakistan early this month. Afghan officials have said in recent days that they have been postponed.