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Taliban, Afghan Officials Meet In Qatar

FILE -- Muhammad Naeem (R), a spokesman for the Afghan Taliban speaks in Doha in June 2013.

Qatar's state news agency, QNA, says Afghan and Taliban officials will hold two days of "reconciliation" talks in Doha, although both sides sought to downplay expectations from the meeting.

QNA said the meeting began on May 2, but it did not identify the officials taking part in the talks.

Earlier, the Taliban said in a statement that an eight-member delegation represented the group in the talks.

The statement, however, said the discussions "should not be misconstrued as peace or negotiation talks."

Afghan presidential spokesman Ajmal Abidy said members of the country's High Peace Council would attend the talks in Doha in their "personal capacity only."

"Nothing is going on. We have no expectations," Abidy told The Associated Press.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who took office in September 2014, has pushed for peace talks with the Taliban.

Previous efforts to launch peace talks have failed.

Based on reporting by AP and The Wall Street Journal