Pakistan to host US-Taliban talks on Feb 18

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Observer Report

Kabul

Afghan Taliban’s negotiation team will meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad to hold comprehensive discussions about Pak-Afghan relations, Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said.
In a statement, Taliban Spokesman said, “As the negotiation process continues to place between the Islamic Emirates and United States, and meetings have already been held in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the next round will resume on the 25th of February 2019 in Qatari capital, Doha as per agreement reached during the previous meeting.”
The statement further says, “Similarly, by the formal invitation of the government of Pakistan, another meeting is scheduled to take place between the negotiation teams of Islamic Emirates and United States on 18th of February in Islamabad, where the negotiation team of Islamic Emirates will also meet Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.”
The talks come a week ahead of previously scheduled negotiations between the two sides in Qatar on February 25. Mujahid said in a statement that the Qatar talks would still take place.
While he said the Taliban delegation would meet the US team, he did not specify any meetings with team head, US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
The Taliban announced Tuesday a 14-member team to meet American negotiators this month in Doha, including five former Guantanamo Bay inmates and a high-profile militant behind bars in Afghanistan.
United States special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has undertaken extensive recent peace talks with the Taliban about ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, with another round expected in late February.
The expanded negotiating team unveiled by the insurgents includes Anas Haqqani, who was captured in 2014 and whose older brother is deputy Taliban leader and head of the Haqqani network.

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