Taliban deputy chief meets US envoy for Kabul in Doha

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ANKARA

A Taliban delegation led by deputy leader Mullah Baradar met Thursday with Washington’s special envoy for Afghanistan and his delegation in the Qatari capital of Doha. 

Baradar and Zalmay Khalilzad discussed “the current situation of Afghanistan, the peace process and matters pertaining to them,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Twitter.

The meeting was held in the wake of the postponement of an Afghan peace conference, because of non-participation by the Taliban, that was slated for April 24.

Turkey announced on April 20, the postponement of the conference in Istanbul until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The Taliban declined to attend the conference, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign troops by May in line with the Doha Agreement with the US.

The meeting was scheduled for April 24-May 4 to fast-track an agreement between the Taliban and Kabul amid an announcement by Washington that foreign troops would leave Afghanistan by Sept. 11.​​​​​​​

US President Joe Biden announced earlier this month that the US would be withdrawing all of its forces by Sept. 11 — the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that prompted the US military operation.

Deployment of foreign troops began in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, when the US, together with the UK, launched Operation Enduring Freedom.

Currently, there are 9,592 troops from 36 nations stationed in Afghanistan. The US tops the list with 2,500 soldiers.

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