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10:27 AM | Mon, 30 May 2016

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Afghan Taliban wants to be off UN black list to join talks

126 Days ago

Islamabad: Afghan Taliban wants to be removed from a UN blacklist before it can consider rejoining peace talks aimed at ending its 15-year war, a senior group member said as its political wing met activists at an unofficial forum in Qatar.

After months of worsening fighting, Afghanistan was trying to get the troubled negotiations back on track, Dawn online reported on Sunday.

Prospects of the Taliban, having an increasingly strong presence on the battlefield since the withdrawal of most international troops in 2014, joining any talks had appeared slim, it said.

But a Taliban member said the group could participate if the UN Security Council cancelled a resolution freezing its assets and limiting travel of its senior figures.

"We conveyed them to first remove us from the blacklist of the UN and allow us to freely travel around the world and then we can think about holding peace talks," said the Taliban member.

Malalai Shinwari, adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and former ministers met Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday morning.

"The meeting is providing us an opportunity to express our views about the future of Afghanistan," said Zabih­ullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban group.

The Afghan government did not send any serving officials but the president's adviser Malalai Shinwari and the country's former interior minister Umer Daudzai and former finance minister Anwar Ahady.

Ahady said the Taliban had not yet shown any willingness to engage in direct talks.

"So far they have not proposed any concrete ideas about how to move forward. Hopefully by tomorrow we will know if they want peace, and if so what their conditions are," he said. (IANS)

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