Dubbins leads US talks with Taliban in Doha
WASHINGTON (PAN): Leading a team of officials, Ambassador James Dobbins, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, is heading to Qatar on Tuesday to begin talks with the Taliban on their reconciliation with the Afghan government, an official said.
Dobbins will stop in Ankara, Turkey, and in Doha before stopping in Afghanistan and Pakistan, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced. She said that he will have reconciliation talks in each stop.
A date for the talks has not yet been scheduled, Psaki said, but that they hope to begin them "as soon as possible."
She repeated that the peace negotiations are Afghan-led but added that the US delegation would hold the first meetings. She said that the US wants to discuss "our concerns about Taliban connections to international terrorism."
“The trip is primarily focused on reconciliation efforts. He will have meetings with a number of officials at each stop,” Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.
US officials say it is expected that the Taliban would hold talks with the Afghan government representatives following the US-Taliban talks.
“The US, of course, has a stake here, and we believe it is important for the Taliban to begin, of course, meaningful discussions as soon as possible, both with the Afghans and with us,” said Psaki.
She said the US wanted to support the main dialogue among the Afghans, but there were some issues, the US wanted to discuss with the Taliban directly, most notably their concerns about Taliban’s connections to international terrorism
“We are in Afghanistan because the attack against the United States on 9/11 was planned there by Al Qaeda under shelter offered by the Taliban. An important focus for our meetings moving forward with the Taliban will be the need for them to completely and verifiably break with terrorism. So that is, of course, a priority of the US as we look to proceed with our negotiations,” she said.
“This is an Afghan process moving forward, and certainly will be Afghan-led and Afghan-focused moving forward. But the US has a stake,” she said in response to a question.
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