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U.S. Embraces Intra-Afghan Talks In China

U.S. special representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad (center), U.S. Ambassador John Bass and Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah talk ahead of a meeting in Kabul on October 27.

The U.S. State Department welcomed China’s offer to host the next round of intra-Afghan peace talks that the Taliban has said is taking place in Beijing on October 29-30.

The message was part of a cooperative statement that the governments of the United States, Russia, China, and Pakistan released on October 28 after holding joint meetings in Moscow last week.

U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad represented the United States in Russia on October 24-25 where the four countries renewed their support for “a comprehensive and sustainable agreement.”

They jointly “welcomed the Chinese proposal to host the next intra-Afghan meeting in Beijing,” the statement read.

Talks are expected to include “a wide range of political figures,” including “representatives of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, other Afghan leaders, and the Taliban,” the joint statement said.

The last intra-Afghan discussions took place in July in the Qatari capital of Doha.

Khalilzad is currently in Pakistan where he met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and on October 29 is expected to meet with the powerful military army chief, AP reported.

The Taliban's governing council is believed to be headquartered in Pakistan.

Khalilzad for nearly a year negotiated with the Taliban, reaching a tentative agreement under which the United States would withdraw troops and end the 18-year war.

However, U.S. President Donald Trump in September ended the talks, citing the killing of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan while calling the peace process “dead.”

A sliver of about 76 kilometers of borderland is shared by China and Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Tolo News, AFP, and BBC
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