Russian Federation offers platform for direct Afghan-Taliban talks

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The Kabul visit of UN Security Council members came ahead of the Kabul Process meeting next month where the Afghan government is expected to present its strategy for reaching a settlement with the armed opposition.

The statement also said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov would be heading to New York Wednesday for two days to participate in two high-level sessions: "Non-Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction: build confidence-building measures" and "Building regional partnerships in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a model of the interdependence of security and development".

"They feel confident that the Taliban will be coming to the table", Haley said.

Despite having fought the Taliban in the 1979-89 Afghanistan war in the Soviet era, Moscow now advocates engagement because the militant group it not considered to have ambitions beyond Afghanistan, in contrast to Daesh.

"As long as they are supporting terrorism in Pakistan, the Afghan community is continuing to feel it is not safe", she said. Islamabad denies this and accuses the U.S. of disrespecting its vast sacrifices in fighting terrorism.

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The government said it had also asked the United States to "clarify if Botswana is regarded as a "shithole" country ". MSNBC reported that Durbin said of the president's tweet that denied the language used, "It is not true".

Khalilzad, who has also been the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, termed Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's statement over Mumbai attack mastermind and global terrorist Hafiz Saeed as very alarming.

Reuters reported that a second back-channel meeting occurred over the weekend in Turkey, where it said individuals with Taliban connections met with representatives of Hizb-i Islami, the party of a former Taliban-allied commander who a year ago laid down arms to join Afghan politics.

It is yet not clear if the talks had any outcome or not but Monday's visit by Taliban delegation to Islamabad followed an unofficial meeting organized in Turkey.

Both sides officially denied holding any talks.

Last year, the Kremlin organised further talks that included the Afghan government as well as India and Iran.

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