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Pakistan Hosting Four-Country Meeting On Reviving Afghan-Taliban Talks

Pakistan on May 18 is hosting a new round of four-nation Afghan peace talks aimed at reviving long-stalled negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the talks would take place in Islamabad but did not give further details.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, Omar Zakhilwal, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that he will represent Kabul at the meeting with diplomats from Pakistan, the United States, and China.

The four countries have been attempting since January to bring Taliban delegates to the table in order to restart direct peace talks.

After a fourth round of talks in late February, the diplomats said direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban were “expected to take place” by early March.

But progress stalled as the Taliban launched a spring offensive and intensified its battle against Afghan government forces.

The Taliban says the departure of all foreign forces is a precondition for resuming direct talks with Kabul.

Taliban delegates met in Pakistan in July 2015 with Afghan officials. But the peace process ended abruptly after it was revealed that the Taliban’s founder and spiritual leader, Mullah Omar, had been dead for two years. (Rferl)

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