Afghan president, Chinese FM discuss dialogue with Taliban

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Abdul Ghani Baradar

The Associated Press

FILE – In this May 28, 2019 file photo, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban group’s top political leader, third from left, arrives with other members of the Taliban delegation for talks in Moscow, Russia. The Taliban said Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019, that a fresh round of intra-Afghan peace talks is to be held in China next week. The announcement raises hopes for renewed negotiations, even as violence surges in Afghanistan’s 18-year war. Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, said Tuesday that the talks are planned for Oct. 28 and 29. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi have discussed a planned meeting in Beijing that would include Afghan figures and Taliban representatives.

That meeting — known as “intra-Afghan dialogue” —was to take place last month but has been postponed. No new date has been set. The last time it was held was in July in Qatar.

The dialogue is a separate process from the U.S.-Taliban talks that collapsed in September.

Tuesday’s Afghan statement says Ghani and Wang underscored the Afghan government and people’s role in the peace process.

Ghani insists his government must lead any dialogue with the Taliban, though the insurgents refuse to talk to government representatives. The future of his office is also uncertain as Afghanistan awaits the long overdue results of September presidential elections.

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