Qatar to Host Next Round of U.S.-Taliban Peace Talks on Wednesday

(Last Updated On: January 8, 2019)

The U.S. officials and the Taliban representatives will sit down to two-day peace talks on Wednesday in Qatar, sources told Ariana News, adding that no Afghan government officials will be involved in the meeting.

This will be the fourth time in a series of talks between Taliban leaders and U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.

The sides will discuss on certain key issues being put in place at previous meetings, sources told Ariana News on condition of anonymity.

“I think, they will discuss a three-month ceasefire, the withdrawal of foreign forces and more importantly formation of a future government,” said Hassan Haqyar, a former member of the Taliban and a political analyst.

According to the sources, no Afghan government officials will be in the meeting. The Taliban have repeatedly rejected the requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the talks as the armed group insists that the United States is their main adversary in the 17-year war and that Kabul administration is a “puppet” regime.

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council (HPC), however, said that the talks would pave the way for Taliban talks with the Afghan government.

“The U.S. is seeking to gain the trust of Taliban for having direct talks [with Kabul] and reach into a mechanism and plan for kicking off an intra-Afghan dialogue,” said Asadullah Zayeri, a deputy spokesman of HPC.

The Chief Executive Office, meanwhile, said that the Afghan government is welcoming any meeting which could lead to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

It comes as Umar Daudzai, presidential advisor for developing consensus on peace and Head of HPC’s Secretariat is in Islamabad for four-day talks Pakistani officials.

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