Afghan leaders leave for Doha to revive peace talks

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Kabul

A delegation of Afghan political leaders led by top peace official Abdullah Abdullah left for Qatar on Friday to attempt to breathe life into stalled talks with the Taliban as violence escalates around the country.

Abdullah, head of the country s High Council for National Reconciliation and former government chief executive, said that even as conflict rose and districts toppled to the Taliban insurgents, peace needed to be sought at the negotiating table.

“We hope that the Taliban side will see this as an opportunity and know that there will be no peace with continued capturing of districts,” he said at Kabul s airport before departing.

“The result of peace can only be achieved at the negotiating table (and) despite all the pain that our people are suffering today… we believe there is still a chance for peace.”

Meetings in Qatar’s capital between Afghan gov-ernment and Taliban negotiators have been taking place in recent weeks but officials have cautioned there are few signs of substantive progress as time runs out before foreign troops withdraw by September.

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