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Report: Taliban delegation touches down in China for peace talks

President of China Xi Jinping. (Kremlin/Released)

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

A delegation of the militant Taliban group has arrived in China for two days of intra-Afghan peace talks with representatives of the Afghan government, according to Australian-based policy research center Foreign Brief.

Securing a cease-fire and the possibility of ending the 18-year Afghan war is on the agenda after nearly yearlong parallel talks between the United States and the Taliban collapsed last month when U.S. President Donald Trump called the process “dead.”

“China has invited a delegation…to participate in the intra-Afghan dialogue,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen previously told RFE/RL.

Along with the United States, China, Pakistan, and Russia have separately sought to bring negotiators together in efforts for a lasting reconciliation.

Representatives on October 25 from the United States, Pakistan, China, and Russia met in Moscow for discussions that included the topic of an early resumption of direct U.S. talks with the Taliban.

Ahead of the expected talks in China, Zalmay Khalilzad, the special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, on October 27 met with Afghan leaders in Kabul.

Beijing has not confirmed the talks will take place, but a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said it was “willing to facilitate and help” the Afghan peace process “on the basis of respecting the wishes of all parties.”

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to propose a seven-point “peace and reconciliation plan” during the talks in China, Tolo News reported, citing a leaked copy of the document.

The last time intra-Afghan talks took place were in July in the Qatari capital of Doha.

It will endeavor to “build upon the past efforts and move the peace process forward with an aim to end the bloodshed as soon as possible.”

Nearly 80,000 civilians have died in the Afghan fighting since the UN started collecting data in 2019.