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U.S. says preparations underway for “Turkey Conference” on Afghan peace

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Preparations are underway for the Afghan peace talks set to take place in Turkey, the U.S. State Department said, Reuters reported.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote a letter to Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani putting forward Turkey to host talks to end the two-decade-long war in the country.

On March 12, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed Ankara would host a senior-level meeting between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the group which ruled the country prior to the U.S. invasion in 2001.

“Turkey is trusted by both parties of the negotiation. Both the Taliban and the negotiation delegation, meaning the government side, had asked us to host such a meeting before,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Arrangements are now being made for the conference while U.S. President Joe Biden considers whether to meet a May 1 deadline for the withdrawal of the last 3,500 American troops from Afghanistan, Reuters said.

Turkey has coordinated with the United States on discussions with Afghan officials on both sides since the initial Afghan peace talks were announced by the former U.S. President Donald Trump in February 2020.

Turkish troops are deployed to Afghanistan under the NATO-led mission to the country but do not take part in combat operations.

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