Taliban to take part in intra-Afghan talks in Moscow, no Kabul govt officials attending

The Taliban say they will participate in the “intra-Afghan” talks in Moscow with other prominent Afghan figures, including former President Hamid Karzai and tribal elders, but Kabul government officials will not be present. The office of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has criticized the meeting in the Russian capital, expected on Tuesday, AP reported. Zalmay Khalilzad, the US envoy tasked with resolving Afghanistan’s 17-year war, has been pressing for such a dialogue, even as he holds separate negotiations with the Taliban. The Taliban refuse to talk to Ghani’s government, which they denounce as a US puppet. A statement released on Monday by Afghans attending the Moscow meeting described it as “the first step toward intra-Afghan dialogue.” The Taliban delegation will be led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai.