Afghan govt forms 15-member team to negotiate with Taliban

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Kabul
As the US and the Taliban inch closer toward signing a peace deal, the Afghan government announced formation of a 15-member team for direct talks with the group.
Kabul is yet to release names of the delegation’s members, which US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has insisted be inclusive, representing various Afghan sides with senior government members as its members.
The Taliban, who have held at least seven rounds of talks with Khalilzad and other US diplomats since last year without any involvement of Kabul officials, have always insisted that the group would not hold direct talks with the government and that its delegates be part of a nationwide team.
“Political, social and ethnic diversity have been observed within the 15-member delegation which will represent the Islamic Republic in peace negotiations while taking into account the values and achievements of the Afghan people,” the newly formed Ministry for Peace Affairs said in a statement, reports Arab News.
On Wednesday, Khalilzad said he was on his way to the negotiations venue in Qatar and was ready to close a deal to end the war that began in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks on the US.

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