Secret US-Taliban talks launched in Doha

DEBKA Exclusive: A high-level Taliban delegation arrived in the Qatari capital of Doha on Friday for talks with US diplomats. It announced it was representing the “Islamic Emirate Afghanistan.”  The US side was led by former US ambassador to Kabul, Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, who was recently appointed the US administration’s special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. Ali Haj Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai, head of the Taliban’s political office, said that his movement welcomes the start of talks, provided the United States accepts the “ground realities of Afghanistan and deals with the core issues.”

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