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February 18, 2019
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Afghanistan Latest USA World

Taliban want peace talks with US in Qatar instead of Riyadh

PESHAWAR: Afghan Taliban wanted to change the venue of the planned talks with the Unites States in Saudi Arabian.

Taliban said that they will not attend the planned talks in Saudi Arabia, demanding the venue be shifted to Qatar.

The move is aimed at frustrating Saudi Arabia’s push for direct talks with the Afghan government. Taliban have been rejecting pressure to talk directly with the Kabul government, and have been describing it as a ‘US puppet’.

The planned talks, the fourth in a series aimed at ending the 17-year war in Afghanistan, are scheduled between the leaders of the Taliban and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss the withdrawal of foreign forces and a possible ceasefire in 2019.

The insurgents have rejected the Afghan government’s offer for direct talks.

“We were supposed to meet US officials in Riyadh next week and continue our peace process that remained incomplete in Abu Dhabi last month,” a senior Taliban member based in Afghanistan told Reuters.

“The problem is that leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) wanted us to definitely meet the Afghan government delegation, which we cannot afford to do now, and we have cancelled the meeting in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The Taliban want to change the venue for the talks to Qatar, he said, the political headquarters of the group that is fighting to restore strict Islamic law in Afghanistan and the site for earlier talks.