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U.S., Taliban to ponder ceasefire, prisoner swap in fresh-talks

KABUL: Representatives of Taliban militants and the US diplomats are to discuss a temporary ceasefire and the release of insurgents’ inmates from US detention in the third round of talks organized to be hosted Monday by Pakistan, former Taliban officials say.

Members of the militants’ political office based in Qatar will meet US officials for the third round of negotiations.

The two previous rounds of negotiations were held in Doha between Taliban’s members of political office and the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad.

The talks were mostly focusing on the peace process with the government of Afghanistan, a demand that Taliban reject, offering the US troops’ withdrawal as the main precondition of talks.

The government-designated High Peace Council says the third round of negotiations between Taliban and the United States would be held with the aim of preparations for talks between insurgents and Kabul.

It said “no country” could hold talks with the armed opposition groups on behalf of Afghans.

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