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Taliban, Afghan Negotiators To Meet In Pakistan On July 31

Muhammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban office in Qatar.
Muhammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban office in Qatar.

KABUL -- A member of the Afghan government delegation that is negotiating with Taliban representatives on a peace deal has confirmed that a second round of talks has been scheduled in Pakistan on July 31.

Din Mohammad, a powerful Pashtun tribal leader in eastern Afghanistan and a member of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, confirmed the date of the talks in a July 29 interview with RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan.

Earlier in July, the spiritual leader of Afghanistan’s Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, purportedly recognized peace talks with the Afghan government as “legitimate,” with a message posted in his name saying that the goal of the peace process is an “end to occupation" by foreign forces.

The July 15 statement issued on an official Taliban website marked a departure from the Taliban leadership’s traditional position -- that there could be no meaningful talks until all foreign military forces have left Afghan soil.

But high level Afghan government officials revealed privately on July 29 that they have confirmed Mullah Omar has been dead since 2013.

It was not immediately clear whether news of Mullah Omar's death would cause the July 31 talks to be postponed.

The first round of face-to-face talks took place in Murree, Pakistan, on the outskirts of Islamabad on July 7 under the auspices of U.S. and Chinese officials.