Taliban to meet US officials in UAE, group says

Taliban to meet US officials in UAE, group says
Zalmay Khalilzad held three days of talks with the Taliban in Qatar in November [US embassy via Reuters photo

Representatives from the Afghan Taliban will meet US officials in  United Arab Emirates on Monday, movement’s main spokesman said as diplomatic moves toward agreeing to the basis for talks to end 17-year war in Afghanistan continue.

Zabihullah Mujahid said representatives from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and UAE would also take part in meeting, which follows at least two meetings between Taliban officials and US special calmness envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.

He made announcement in a statement on Twitter.

Taliban say presence of international forces in Afghanistan is main obstacle to peace but have said that issues including mutual recognition with the Kabul government, constitutional changes and women’s rights can be negotiated.

On Saturday, the United States said it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the battle in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The acknowledgement came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Pakistan had arranged another round of US peace talks with the Afghan Taliban make arrangement for Monday.

“The United States welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote special cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a US embassy spokesperson in Kabul told Voice of America.

Khalilzad has met, and will continue to meet, with all interested parties, including Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

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