Afghanistan: Taliban to talk to Kabul if timeline agreed for US troops withdrawal — Moscow

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KABUL (TCA) — The Taliban stated it was ready to talk with Afghanistan’s government only after agreeing with the United States on a schedule for the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country, Sputnik news agency quoted Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov as saying.

“They said that they would be ready to talk with the Afghan government only after reaching an agreement with the Americans on the schedule for withdrawing all foreign troops from Afghanistan. As a confidence-building measure, the Taliban have preliminarily demanded the release of all political prisoners and the cancellation of anti-Taliban sanctions imposed on them back in 1997,” Kabulov said at a press conference on November 12.

The Taliban are ready to take part in the next meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow, Kabulov added.

The November 9 meeting of the Moscow format on Afghanistan may be considered a breakthrough, because for the first time the Taliban attended it, which is the first step toward further full-format peace talks, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Second Asian Department Director Zamir Kabulov, who also serves as an envoy for Afghanistan.

On November 9, Moscow held the second round of negotiations on Afghanistan. The talks involved the Afghan High Peace Council, which, according to Afghanistan’s foreign ministry, didn’t officially represent the country’s government; for the first time, the political representatives of the Taliban Islamist group in Doha were invited. Representatives from China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and the United States were also invited to join the meeting.

Sergey Kwan

TCA