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Afghanistan peace talks with Taliban set to begin

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The first peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are due to begin in the Gulf state of Qatar on Saturday, after months of delay.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the meeting “historic” as he flew to Doha for the opening ceremony.

The talks were due to start after a US-Taliban security deal in February.

But disagreements over a controversial prisoner swap stalled the next stage, as did violence in Afghanistan, where four decades of war are at a stalemate.

A delegation of leading Afghans left Kabul for Doha on Friday – 11 September, the day 19 years ago of the deadly attacks on the US which led to the end of Taliban rule.

The head of the delegation, Abdullah Abdullah, said they were seeking “a just and dignified peace”.

On Thursday the Taliban confirmed they would attend, after a final group of six prisoners were released. – BBC

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