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Afghan official says government will hold talks with Taliban

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Kabul: An Afghan official says the government will hold its first-ever direct talks with the Taliban, with the meeting expected within the next two weeks.

The Taliban have been holding peace talks with the United States for nearly a year but have refused to meet with the government, viewing it as an American puppet.

Abdul Salam Rahimi, Afghanistan's state minister for peace affairs, said Sunday that a 15-member government delegation will meet with the Taliban in Europe, without elaborating.

US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is currently visiting Kabul, tweeted that another round of "intra-Afghan" talks will occur "after we conclude our own agreements."

He said it would include the Taliban and "an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women.(AP)

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