AVA- On December 17, US and Taliban representatives held a marathon meeting for two days and discussed a political settlement in Afghanistan in Abu Dhabi where representatives from Saudi Arabia, the host country and Pakistan attended the talks later.
US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad led the US side, whereas Taliban were represented at the talks by their ‘political negotiators’ from Qatar office.
Besides Taliban’s Qatar office members, Amir Khan Muttaqi, head of office of Mullah Haibatullah, the Taliban’s supreme leader and representatives of the Haqqani Network also attended the UAE meeting.
Taliban say all their representatives attended the UAE meeting and represented the group as one.
The UAE meeting had decided that the next round of talks would be hosted by Saudi Arabia in the second week of January, but some sources now say the Saudi Arabia meeting had been canceled due to some controversies.
A credible source told a media outlet that Saudi Arabia had asked the Taliban to also meet with Afghan government representatives in the meeting the kingdom was supposed to host.
The source said the Taliban rejected the Saudi’s request and that was the reason Saudi Arabia opposed the meeting.
On the other hand, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told foreign media agencies that the next phase of peace dialogue would be soon followed with the US. He said they were entering a new phase in peace talks with the Americans.
Khalil Safi, a peace activist, said three rounds of peace talks between the Taliban and the US had taken place in Doha and the fourth in Abu Dhabi.
He said the first meeting from the US side was led by Alice Wells while the other meetings were headed by Zalmay Khalilzad.
The fifth meeting of peace dialogue would take place in January or February, but the date and venue were yet to be decided, he added.
He said the release of two key Taliban members Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Mullah Abdul Sammad Sani from Pakistani prisons and recent announcement of the US president to withdraw 7,000 troops from Afghanistan indicated the Taliban and US were serious in peace talks.


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