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Taliban announce conference among Afghan parties in Beijing

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A conference among Afghan parties aimed at “finding a solution to the Afghan problem” will be held in Beijing, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shahin told AFP, without elaborating on who would attend.

Shahin said the Taliban delegation, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Bardar, one of the movement’s founders, would visit China on October 29 and 30.

He said the trip was decided after a meeting in Doha between Mullah Bardar, head of the Taliban political bureau, and Chinese special envoy Deng Shijun.

“The two sides discussed holding an upcoming Afghan conference in Beijing and issues related to the settlement of the Afghan problem,” Shahin wrote on Twitter.

The Afghan government has not commented on Shaheen’s announcement.

The Taliban spokesman said that “all participants will attend (the conference) in person and will provide their personal views to reach a solution to the Afghan problem.”

The Taliban do not recognize the legitimacy of the Afghan authority and consistently describe it as a “puppet” of the United States.

Bardar usually resides in Qatar, where the movement has held almost a year of direct negotiations with a US delegation led by Zalmay Khalilzad. The two sides were close to a deal that would allow Washington to start withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan in return for security promises from the Taliban.

But on September 7, Trump canceled a secret summit scheduled to be held between the United States and the Taliban at Camp David and announced two days later that talks had been suspended.

The Taliban have threatened more violence, but the group and Washington have left the door open for the resumption of negotiations. Experts say Washington will eventually have to return to the negotiating table.

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