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Taliban Negotiators in Iran, Says Foreign Ministry


Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani (Right) and U.S. special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, (Left) meet in Kabul, Afghanistan November 10, 2018. File photo

Taliban representatives from Afghanistan arrived in Tehran on Sunday and have started peace negotiations with Iran, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said.

The talks are designed to set parameters for negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

"A Taliban delegation was in Tehran yesterday. They had comprehensive negotiations with the Iranian deputy foreign minister," Bahram Ghasemi said in a news conference broadcast live on state television on Monday.

The United States has engaged in several rounds of negotiations with the Taliban in November and December, with the participation of Gulf Arab states and in coordination with Pakistan.

The U.S. representative Zalmay Khalilzad has traveled back and forth in the region but so far there has been no breakthrough. The Taliban refuse to directly negotiate with the government in Kabul.

Leaked in formation from Washington that President Donald Trump might reduce troop levels in Afghanistan has been seen as potential disincentive for Taliban to show flexibility.

Iran said earlier this week that it has been holding discussions with the Taliban, keeping the Afghan government informed.

If U.S. negotiations with the Taliban fail to bear any results, Iran would be in a position to act as a broker between the Taliban and the Kabul government.

Reporting by Reuters

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