Afghan Taliban will meet the US, Pakistani, Saudi officials in the UAE on Monday, the Taliban’s key spokesman said as diplomatic moves towards agreeing to the basis for talks to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.
Zabihullah Mujahid said representatives from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE would also take part in the meeting, which follows at least two meetings between Taliban officials and U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.
He made the announcement in a statement on Twitter.
The meetings come as diplomatic efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict have intensified, although the Taliban have so far refused to deal directly with the Western-backed government in Kabul, which it considers illegitimate.
The Taliban say the presence of international forces in Afghanistan is the main obstacle to peace but have said that issues including mutual recognition with the Kabul government, constitutional changes and women’s rights can be negotiated.
India’s consistent policy has been that peace process should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the government of Afghanistan
Earlier, the Afghan Taliban had accepted a Russian invitation to travel to Moscow to hold peace talks on Afghanistan’s future that is likely to exclude the U.S. and include regional powers like China, India, Iran and Pakistan.
As EurAsian Times reported earlier, Pakistan remains a key player in Afghanistan because of the leverage it has over the Taliban. It has facilitated many rounds of talks between the militant group and the Afghan government in the past, although with little results.