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Russia urges Taliban to hold direct talks with Afghan government

MOSCOW - Russia is urging the Taliban to start direct talks with the central government in Afghanistan and hopes that such negotiations will begin soon, Interfax news agency quoted a senior Russian diplomat as saying on Wednesday.
"We are urging the Taliban to do this and we hope that they (talks) will start as soon as possible to prevent the beginning of a new 'combat season'," said Zamir Kabulov, the Russian president's special envoy to Afghanistan.
Kabulov was commenting on a statement by the Afghan government's chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, this month that Afghanistan expects to restart peace talks with the Taliban within six months, pinning hopes on factions within the Islamist militant group which might be ready to give up violence.
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