Afghan Taliban holding secrets talks with Kabul government

KABUL: The Taliban have held secret talks with members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council in an effort to agree on formal talks, a former Taliban diplomat said.

Representatives of Afghan president Hamid Karzai had gathered with Taliban members, which indicated there were hopes for the process moving forward since Karzai accused the religious militia of attempting to establish a government in exile with the opening of a Taliban office in Qatar in June, Habibullah Fauzi, a former Taliban diplomat who is now a member of Karzai’s High Peace Council, said.

The opening of the office, compounded with the flying of Taliban’s white flag and a sign identifying the group as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan was said to have enraged Afghanistan’s president, and halted efforts to engage in a dialogue.

“The Afghan government certainly is in contact with certain leaders and certain figures among the Taliban,” said Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Musazai on Sunday at a news conference in Kabul.

Fauzi, meanwhile, said that “some individuals (on the peace council) have met Taliban on an individual basis,” though he would not speculate who or when.