US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held a meeting in Doha with the head of the new Taliban negotiating team. The Taliban team is present to open peace talks with a delegation representing the Afghan government.
The negotiations, the result of an agreement between Washington and the Taliban, are to begin in Doha after the release of the last half-dozen Taliban prisoners.
The Afghan negotiators had been expected to fly from Kabul to Doha this week, but are awaiting a signal from the Afghan government that the release – to which Western governments have objected – is going ahead.
In Doha, the head of the Taliban’s political office, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and the new head of the Taliban’s negotiating team, Abdul Hakim Haqqani, met with Khalilzad and Qatar’s deputy prime minister on Monday,
Taliban spokesperson Dr Mohammad Naeem said in a statement shared on Twitter. “Issues related to the prisoners’ release and immediate start of the intra-Afghan talks were discussed,” Naeem said.