The Taliban met with members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council on Friday in a conference organised by the Russian government in Moscow. This is the second such meeting with the insurgent group being organised by international stakeholders in a bid to push peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
The Taliban reportedly met with U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad last month, to start negotiations on the terms of a peace deal. Both meetings, however, did not see the participation of the Afghan government. “President (Ashraf) Ghani is committed to peace and has taken bold steps. However, the Taliban did not reciprocate,” a source close to the Afghan President said on condition of anonymity. Mr. Ghani did make several efforts to get the Taliban on the negotiating table, including a three-day Id ceasefire last year.
In a statement issued ahead of the meeting, the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed displeasure. It confirmed that the government wasn’t sending an official delegation, and that it would be represented by members of the High Peace Council, an independent body of political and religious leaders, assigned to facilitate talks with the insurgents.
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