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After cancelling Saudi Arabia meet, Taliban calls off two-day peace talks with US officials in Qatar over agenda disagreement

Peshawar: The Taliban said on Tuesday they had cancelled planned peace talks with US officials in Qatar this week over a disagreement regarding the agenda of the talks.

"Both sides have agreed to not meet in Qatar," senior Taliban members based in Afghanistan told Reuters.

 After cancelling Saudi Arabia meet, Taliban calls off two-day peace talks with US officials in Qatar over agenda disagreement

File image of Taliban militants. Reuters

Talks had been planned for two days starting on Wednesday in Qatar, senior Taliban members had earlier told Reuters. The Taliban had rejected requests from regional powers to allow Afghan officials to take part in the discussion, insisting that the United States is their main adversary in the 17-year war and that Kabul is a "puppet" regime.

The insurgents, seeking to reimpose strict Islamic law after their 2001 ouster by US-led troops, called off their scheduled meeting this week with US officials in Saudi Arabia as well because of Riyadh's insistence on bringing the Western-backed Afghan government to the table.

The talks would have been the fourth in a series between Taliban leaders and US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.

"After mutual consultations, we are going to meet US officials in Doha on Wednesday. The meeting will continue for two days, Wednesday and Thursday,” a senior member of the Afghan Taliban had said on condition of anonymity.

Pakistani and Iranian officials had been trying to persuade the Taliban to meet Afghan officials. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had taken part in the last round of talks which took place in December, 2018.

The United States, which sent troops to Afghanistan in the wake of the 11 September, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington and at the peak of the deployment had more than 100,000 troops in the country, withdrew most of its forces in 2014, but still keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a NATO-led mission aiding Afghan security forces and hunting militants.

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Updated Date: Jan 08, 2019 18:56:13 IST