U.S. to meet Taliban in Islamabad on Feb. 18: Taliban spokesman
KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban negotiators will meet their U.S. opposite numbers on Feb. 18 in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad as a part of accelerating international relations to finish greater than 17 years of warfare in Afghanistan, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid mentioned on Wednesday.
But a U.S. State Department consultant mentioned in a remark that the United States had “not received a formal invitation to any talks.”
The talks would come every week forward of in the past scheduled negotiations between the 2 aspects in Qatar on Feb. 25. Mujahid mentioned in a remark that the Qatar talks would nonetheless happen as scheduled.
Mujahid mentioned his aspect would additionally meet Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to grasp “comprehensive discussions about Pakistan-Afghanistan relations”.
While he mentioned the Taliban delegation would meet the U.S. workforce, he didn’t specify any conferences with workforce head, U.S. particular peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
Khalilzad is due in Pakistan forward of the Qatar talks as a part of a six-country swing thru Europe and the Middle East as he tries to construct enhance for efforts to finish America’s longest warfare.
Both the hardline Islamist motion and the United States hailed growth after the top of the ultimate spherical of negotiations in Qatar ultimate month however Western diplomats accustomed to discussions say that many tricky hurdles lie forward.
The U.S. aspect is predicted to push onerous for a ceasefire between Taliban insurgents and foreign-backed Afghan forces earlier than any settlement on the withdrawal of U.S.-led overseas troops.
Taliban officers say they would like all overseas troops out earlier than a ceasefire, however would nonetheless welcome non-military overseas assist to re-build the rustic.
Washington may be in search of extra main points on recent assurances from the Taliban that it could no longer permit Afghanistan to be utilized by teams comparable to al-Qaeda and Islamic State to assault the United States and its allies, Western diplomats mentioned.
It may be pushing for the Taliban to communicate to the Afghan executive, which it has thus far close out of talks, branding it as a puppet of Washington.
U.S. President Donald Trump used his State of the Union deal with ultimate week to say growth in negotiations with the Taliban would permit a discount in the roughly 14,000 U.S. troops lately in Afghanistan and a renewed “focus on counter terrorism.”
Additional reporting and writing by way of Greg Torode; Additional reporting by way of Jonathan Landay in Washington; Editing by way of Toby Chopra and Lisa Shumaker