U.S. and Afghan officials appealed to the Taliban on Monday not to abandon peace talks with the Afghan government, amid fears that the group’s rejection of the talks will trigger a new wave of bloodletting as the summer fighting season nears.

Taliban officials over the weekend dealt a major blow to a multilateral effort involving the U.S., China, Pakistan and the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani to lure the Taliban to the negotiating table.

Following a similar plea by Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Washington that the Taliban “should engage in a peace process and ultimately become a legitimate part of the political system of a sovereign united Afghanistan.”

“There is and should be a sense of urgency around getting these talks up and running,” said Mr. Kirby, who stressed that if the talks don’t come together soon, U.S. and Afghan forces should prepare “for the potential for increased violence in the spring and summer months.”

Read More- Washington Times

Image courtesy of AP