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Intra-Afghan dialogue has been our key objective: US envoy

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KABUL: The long-awaited talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban Qatar-based members is due to be held in near future after months of delay as it was expected within a week after the US-Taliban peace deal was signed on 29th February.

The first round of talks is to be held in Doha; however, President Ashraf Ghani said he will make an important announcement on the peace talks next week. The remaining 2,000 Taliban out of 5,000, according to the President, will release soon as part of peace efforts. The Taliban said they will not enter into the talks unless to get their 5,000 prisoners promised in the peace deal with the US.   

“Prisoner releases have reached a new milestone. We welcome the government now having exceeded 3,000 Taliban prisoners released and the Taliban 500. It is important that the process continues and the prisoners release roadblock resolved,” US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Peace, Zalmay Khalilzad said.

In a series of tweets, he said that the “Afghan-owned, and Afghan-led negotiations between the inclusive Islamic Republic team and the Taliban negotiating team must begin immediately thereafter. From the start, getting to intra-Afghan negotiations (IAN) has been a key objective of our diplomacy.”

He has welcomed the Taliban statement specifying they will participate in IAN within one week of the prisoner release commitment outlined in our agreement. “Although many practical details need to be worked out, these developments are all very positive.”

“We are closer to the goal of IAN than ever before. All sides must work to get to the negotiations table ASAP and prevent spoilers from undermining the process and betraying the hopes and yearning of Afghan people for peace,” he added.

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