The Weekend Leader - Afghan govt team leaves for Doha to meet Taliban members

Afghan govt team leaves for Doha to meet Taliban members



A six-member Afghan government team has left for Qatar where they will meet Taliban members after the militant groups signs the long-awaited peace deal with the US on Saturday in Doha, sources said.

In a statement on Thursday, the Presidential Palace called the team "a group to establish initial contacts" with the Taliban and they were meeting with the militant group at their request and also of the US, reports TOLO News

This meeting will be the first between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Part of the US-Taliban agreement was the release of 5,000 prisoners, about which the Washington government wanted a meeting between the militant and representatives of the Afghan government, the sources said on Thursday.

The Afghan government had reservations about sending the team to meet with the Taliban only about prisoners, but it was unclear whether the Taliban would be willing to discuss other issues as well with the team, TOLO News quoted the sources as further saying.

The US-Taliban deal is expected to be signed in Doha on Saturday which comes after the 18-month gruelling talks resulting in the imminent agreement under which foreign troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan.

In return, the Taliban have agreed not to allow the Afghan soil to be used against any other country.

Also on Saturday, the governments of Afghanistan and the US are expected to issue a joint declaration to emphasize the American commitments for Kabul.

US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg are expected to be in Kabul for the announcement of the declaration.IANS

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