Russia to host talks with Afghan leaders, Taliban delegation
Russia said on Saturday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had agreed to send a group of senior politicians to peace talks in Moscow, at which a delegation representing the Taliban would be present.
Russia in August proposed holding multilateral peace talks in Moscow, and invited 12 countries and the Taliban to attend a summit the following month. But the meeting was postponed after Ghani rejected the invitation on the grounds that talks with the Taliban should be led by the Afghan government.
In a statement on Saturday, Russia's foreign ministry said the talks were now confirmed to be held on November 9.
"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 ministry has invited several other countries to send representatives, including India, Iran, Pakistan, China and the United States.
Back-channel diplomacy between the Taliban and a range of countries – including the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – has taken place over the years to end the latest phase of Afghanistan's 17-year war, which began with a US invasion in 2001.
(Cover: Taliban fighters walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, June 16, 2018. /VCG Photo)