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Taliban to take part in ‘intra-Afghan’ talks in Moscow

Taliban to take part in ‘intra-Afghan’ talks in Moscow

The Taliban say they will participate in what they call “intra-Afghan” talks in Moscow among prominent Afghan figures, including former President Hamid Karzai and tribal elders — but no Kabul government officials.

The office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has criticized the meeting in the Russian capital, expected on Tuesday, as a gathering of the power-hungry.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy tasked with resolving Afghanistan’s 17-year war, has been pressing for such a dialogue, even as he holds separate negotiations with the Taliban.

The Taliban refuse to talk to Ghani’s government, which they denounce as a US puppet.

A statement released on Monday by Afghans attending the Moscow meeting describes it as “the first step toward intra-Afghan dialogue.”