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Qatar to limit Afghan talks coverage for domestic media: Sources

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KABUL: Diplomatic sources in the government of Afghanistan say that the government of Qatar, where the first round of peace negotiations is expected to be held between Ghani administration and Taliban, wants to curb the rights of the talks coverage only for Qatari media and other outlets would be kept out of the event area.

Qatar had been hosting the US-Taliban negotiations for more than one year and is now ready to host intra-Afghan negotiations.

The Afghan government source said on Wednesday that Doha wants to keep the negotiations secret from international media.

The media support agency (NAI) claims that the decision was made due to Taliban demands, with Mojib Khalvatgar, head of the agency saying that Afghan journalists’ visa applications were rejected by Qatari embassy and they were told that Taliban didn’t want them to cover the event.

“As far as we know, Taliban insist that the intra-Afghan talks be held behind closed doors far from journalists. This is against the Afghan and international laws as well as against the US-Taliban peace agreement,” he said.

Neither the government, nor Taliban have commented on the report.

The Loya Jirga which agreed with the release of 400 Taliban prisoners, emphasized on the openness of the intra-Afghan talks.

“This is very important for the people of Afghanistan as they have been waiting long for the event. The peace process belongs to Afghans who gave sacrifices in the war. If the international media are not allowed to cover the event, the Afghan reporters should be allowed,” Zabihullah Khorshidi, a Kabul-based journalist said.

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