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Kabul Undecided About Afghan Peace Talks In Moscow

FILE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
FILE: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

An official in Kabul says Afghan authorities “have not yet” decided about sending a delegation to international talks Russia plans to host next week on the Afghan peace process.

“Our discussions on this topic are still ongoing. We have not yet reached an agreement with Russia about how and when the Moscow meeting should take place,” Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan on November 3.

Earlier, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the Afghan government and the Taliban have agreed to take part in the meeting scheduled for November 9.

The Russian ministry said in a statement on November 3that delegations from Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and from the Taliban’s Qatar-based political office will attend the talks.

"It will be the first time that a delegation from the Taliban's political office in Doha will attend such a high-level international meeting," the Foreign Ministry said.

The statement also said the United States, India, Iran, China, Pakistan, and five former Soviet republics in Central Asia had been invited to the gathering set to be at the deputy foreign minister level.

The statement, however, did not clarify which countries had accepted the invitation.

Russia in August proposed hosting multilateral peace talks and invited 12 countries and the Taliban to attend a summit the following month.

But the talks were postponed after the Afghan government refused to send a delegation, saying the Taliban should first agree to direct talks with Kabul.

In April 2017, Russia hosted an international conference on Afghanistan. The United States was invited to that meeting but did not participate.

Meanwhile, the United States has renewed efforts to engage the Taliban in peace talks with the Western-backed government in Kabul in a bid to achieve a political solution to the Afghan conflict.

Taliban representatives have met with U.S. officials at least twice in Qatar in recent months, most recently on October 12 with U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

With reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters