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Qatar says Taliban political chief will lead U.S.-Taliban talks in Doha this week

The latest round of peace talks between the United States and the Taliban will begin in Doha this week and include Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Qatar said on Sunday, despite earlier reports suggesting his absence.
The talks are expected to center around a ceasefire to end America's longest war and the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, and are expected begin on Feb. 25, according to diplomatic sources.US officials have been keen to negotiate with Baradar, hoping the Taliban's co-founder and military veteran would add momentum and have the clout to discuss tough issues surrounding the end of the 17-year war.
Baradar was released from a Pakistani jail in October and his appointment was widely seen as marking a new push by the Taliban to emerge from the political and diplomatic shadows.
The talks will be led on the US side by United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, the foreign ministry statement said.
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