Afghan Taliban govt says to attend next round of UN talks in Doha

This handout picture provided by the UAE Presidential Court shows UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (R) meeting with a delegation of Afghan's ruling Taliban administration including interior minister Sirajuddin Haqqani (2nd-R) at al-Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi on June 3, 2024.

Taliban authorities will attend the third round of United Nations-hosted talks on Afghanistan in the Qatari capital, a government spokesman said on Sunday, after snubbing an invitation to the previous round.

The Taliban government's participation in the conference of foreign special envoys to Afghanistan had been in doubt after it was not included in the first set of talks and then refused an invitation to the second round in February.

"A delegation of the Islamic Emirate will participate in the coming Doha conference. They will represent Afghanistan there and express Afghanistan's position," Zabihullah Mujahid told AFP.

The talks in Doha are scheduled for June 30 and July 1, and have already been criticised by women's groups.

Mujahid told Afghan media on Sunday that a delegation — yet to be announced — would attend because the talks' agenda appeared "beneficial to Afghanistan".

The agenda includes "topics such as aid for Afghanistan and creating opportunities for investors in Afghanistan, which are important", he said.

However, foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi warned in a post on social media site X later on Sunday that "if there are any changes to the agenda and participation, it would naturally affect our decision" to attend.

Launched by the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in May 2023, the series of talks aim to "increase international engagement with Afghanistan in a more coherent, coordinated and...

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