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Taliban says it is meeting US officials on Dec. 17

Zalmay Khalilzad at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

The Taliban say it will be holding “another” meeting on December 17 with U.S. officials, this time in the United Arab Emirates in the latest attempt to negotiate an end to Afghanistan’s 17-year war.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the meeting would also involve Saudi, Pakistani, and Emirati representatives but offered no further details.

While Washington has neither denied nor confirmed previous meetings with the Taliban, U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad previously said he held several meetings with all Afghans involved in the conflict — a reference that would include the Taliban, who control or have influence in nearly half of Afghanistan.

In a statement last month, the Taliban said it held three consecutive days of talks with Khalilzad in Qatar, a Mideast country where the insurgent group maintains a political office.

Afterward, Khalilzad went to Kabul where he urged Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to put together a team that could hold talks with the Taliban.

The United States has spent $1 trillion on the war in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in 2001. The conflict there has become America’s longest war.