Next Afghan-Taliban Meeting in China

Next Afghan-Taliban Meeting in ChinaNext Afghan-Taliban Meeting in China

The second round of official talks between representatives of the Kabul government and the Taliban, aimed at ending the 14-year war, will take place on July 30 in China, an Afghan official said on Friday.

The two sides are still working out the details such as the list of attendants, which should be finalized in the coming days, said Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar of the High Peace Council, the body charged with negotiating a settlement with the insurgents, AP reported.

Qasimyar said Kabul would request a temporary ceasefire in the fighting, which has intensified following the April launch of the Taliban's so-called "spring offensive."

"We are willing to enter into a ceasefire and it would be a good test to see if fighters on the ground are willing to accept a ceasefire directive from the Taliban leadership."

The first round of official face-to-face talks took place in Islamabad on July 7, supervised by American and Chinese representatives. They followed several informal contacts since President Ashraf Ghani came into office last year. Ghani has made peace talks with the Taliban a priority.

Ghani's Deputy Spokesman Zafar Hashemi would not confirm details of the next round of talks but said the president is seeking that those representing the Afghan side include people "from all sectors of society," women, civil society and peace activists as well as figures who fought against the Taliban's 1996-2001 regime.

He also said the Taliban had made several demands of their own in the talks so far, including the removal of Taliban names from UN and US blacklists, which would enable their members to travel internationally.