China plans to host intra-Afghan talks as US-Taliban talks stall: Report
Iran Press TV
Wed Oct 23, 2019 07:14AM
China is reportedly planning to host negotiations among Afghanistan's rival factions aimed at finding a way out of years of war in the country, weeks after a diplomatic process involving the US and the Taliban militant group broke down.
A Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen, said in a post on Twitter late on Tuesday that "China has invited a delegation ... to participate in the intra-Afghan dialog.”
"All participants will be attending the meeting in their personal capacity and they will share their personal opinions for solving the Afghan issue,” Shaheen added.
The talks will be held in China on October 28 and 29, according to Shaheen. It will be the first meeting between the Taliban and prominent figures from Kabul since a July round of intra-Afghan talks in the Qatari capital, Doha.
The Taliban have refused to talk to the Afghan government, calling it a US puppet, but officials have taken part in the intra-Afghan dialog as private citizens.
In turn, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman said Kabul was aware of Beijing's plan for talks but it could not comment at this stage.
The Taliban's Qatar-based political bureau was engaged in a diplomatic process – excluding Kabul – with the US aimed at ending Washington's 18-year invasion of Afghanistan earlier this year.
Nine rounds of such talks took place in Doha, with the two sides appearing to have come close to a deal, under which the US would withdraw over 5,000 troops from Afghanistan within 20 weeks in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.
However, US President Donald Trump abruptly canceled the peace process and declared the talks "dead” on September 9, after the Afghan militant group carried out a bomb attack in Kabul, which killed 12 people, including an American soldier.
Following the breakdown of those talks, the Taliban sent delegations to Afghanistan's neighbors, China and Iran, as well as Russia for talks on the Afghan peace process.
Beijing has already voiced its willingness to cooperate in peace talks and reconciliation in neighboring Afghanistan, which shares a short border with China's far western region of Xinjiang, home to mostly Muslim Uighur people.
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