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    No talks scheduled with Taliban, says US

    WASHINGTON (PAN): The United States on Wednesday said that no direct talks with the Taliban had been scheduled as yet and the officials earlier planning to travel to Qatar in this regard were still in Washington.

    “Because we’re working with the Afghans on what the next appropriate step is, there isn’t a meeting.  I know there were reports of it, but reports of a meeting being scheduled or on the books aren’t accurate,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.  

     “I also didn’t confirm them yesterday, to be clear.  But beyond that, the process is going to be – this is what I’m just trying to get at as I’m hearing the issue they’re raising – is Afghans talking to Afghans about how the reconciliation process moves forward.  If there’s a role for the US to play in that, that’s up to the Afghans to decide,” she said in response to a question.

    Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dubbins was earlier scheduled to leave for Doha to open talks with the Taliban in Doha. His trip was apparently stopped after President Hamid Karzai raised his objections on the issue of US-Taliban talks.

     “We are in coordination and in discussion with the Afghans and the High Peace Council about how to move forward,” Psaki said.

    “There were reports yesterday of one being scheduled Thursday, which we didn’t confirm from here.  So again, we’re continuing to work on the process,” she said. “There is broad agreement that that is the right process.  I think there’s been some confusion about the different components of this,” she added.

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