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Afghan Taliban announce talks with US in Pakistan

The Taliban on Wednesday said that its negotiators would next week meet the top US and Pakistani officials including Prime Minister Imran Khan during a key round of talks in Islamabad as part of the ongoing Afghan peace talks.

Neither Washington nor Islamabad immediately confirmed the announcement by the Taliban.

On the “formal invitation of the government of Pakistan, another meeting is scheduled to take place between the negotiation teams of the Islamic Emirate and the US on 18th of February, 2019 in Islamabad,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement.

The Taliban’s delegation would also meet Prime Minister Khan, the statement said.

Mujahid said that the regular round of talks was already scheduled to be held on February 25 in Qatar.

He said that in the meeting with Khan, the Taliban would have “comprehensive discussions about Pak-Afghan relations and issues pertaining to Afghan refugees and Afghan businessmen”.

Though there was no official confirmation, diplomatic sources in Pakistan said that the Taliban delegation would visit Pakistan and hold talks with both American and Pakistani officials.

The Taliban and the US are in a discussion to end more than a 17-year long bloody war in Afghanistan.

The Taliban control nearly half of Afghanistan and are more powerful than at any time since the 2001 US-led invasion after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.

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