Afghanistan’s Peace Council repeats offer of talks to Taliban at Moscow conference

Members of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, a body overseeing peace efforts, met Taliban officials at a conference in the Russian capital on Friday. Afghanistan’s representatives repeated President Ashraf Ghani’s offer of peace talks without preconditions, RIA Novosti reported. Moscow’s meeting of regional officials on ways to end the war in Afghanistan for the first time included a Taliban delegation. “We discussed the subject of direct talks with the Taliban and asked them to choose the place and the starting time,” Ehsan Tahiri, High Peace Council spokesman, was quoted as saying. The Taliban had earlier this year rejected the offer of talks, saying they will deal only with the US. The meeting in Russia took place as US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad prepared for a fresh round of talks with Taliban officials in Qatar, Reuters said.