HERAT, AFGHANISTAN — A prominent Afghan political leader who once had the support of some officials to lead Afghanistan's negotiating team with the Taliban, warned the president Wednesday against squandering the best opportunity at peace in more than 17 years of war.
İn an interview with The Associated Press, former Cabinet minister Ismail Khan said “the Taliban are ready to find a solution that is good for every Afghan,” but they steadfastly refuse to talk with the Afghan government alone, saying the government is a U.S. “puppet.”
Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's office in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, said the Taliban negotiation team will hold its next round of talks with Washington's peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Monday. The Taliban have been negotiating with the U.S. to end America's longest war, which has cost it more than $1 trillion.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has been demanding his government lead all peace talks with the Taliban, rejected a meeting between the Taliban and a large gathering of prominent Afghan figures, including former President Hamid Karzai and Khan, in Moscow earlier this month.
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