Taliban delegation in Beijing ahead of Doha talks: report

BEIJING, June 17 (INP): A Taliban delegation is visiting Beijing to hold talks with Chinese officials as part of a peace process ahead of their seventh round of talks with the US in Qatar, a former Taliban spokesman said as quoted by Arab News.

In April this year, US, China and Russia pressed the Taliban to hold talks with Afghan politicians and civilians, as an important step to end the 17-year conflict.

Abdul Hai Mutmayen, who has served as Taliban chief spokesman in Kandahar, told Arab News that the Taliban political office head, Abdul Ghani Baradar was leading the delegation in talks with Chinese officials.

“The Taliban delegation led by head of the Qatar office and deputy chief on political affairs Abdul Ghani Baradar is in Beijing,” Mutmayen said.

“It seems that the Taliban leaders are making efforts to hold consultations and exchange their views with key stakeholders ahead of the next round. The visit is an indication that the 7th round is important,” he added.

Mutmayen said two senior leaders from the negotiation team, Amir Khan Mutaqi and Abdul Latif Mansour were also part of the insurgents’ delegation in China.

When asked to confirm the news, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Arab News he was in the “process of collecting information.”
The Chinese visit comes just days ahead of the Taliban’s latest round of talks with the US in Qatar, as the two sides attempt to finalise the points on the table from the preceding six rounds.