KABUL – Afghan Taliban have reportedly said that they will begin their next round of peace talks on Wednesday with US officials, this time in Qatar.
The last meeting was held in the United Arab Emirates in December, where Saudi Arabia offered to host the next peace talks on Afghanistan in Jeddah.
The two-day meeting will be fourth between Taliban representatives and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
However, as Riyadh insisted on bringing the Afghan government to the table, the Taliban sought change of venue.
A Taliban member revealed, “After mutual consent, we have agreed to meet US officials in Doha on Wednesday. It will be a two-day meeting – Wednesday and Thursday.”
The meeting in Abu Dhabi was also attended by Pakistan and UAE. A Taliban leader was quoted by Reuters as saying that the Qatar meeting would involve no other country.
An Afghanistan-based Taliban leader said, “On this occasion, we are going to talk with American officials only.”
He added that they would discuss US withdrawal, prisoner exchange and the lifting of a ban on movement of their leaders.
The war in Afghanistan is Washington’s longest overseas military intervention. It has cost nearly a trillion dollars and killed dozens of people.